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Psychologist Marsha M. Linehan developed dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) in the late 1980s as a means to more effectively treat chronically suicidal individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD). It is a rigidly structured, evidence-based therapy that combines techniques from western cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psycho-educational modules, and eastern mindfulness-based practices to emphasize the psychosocial aspect of treatment. The American Psychological Association (APA) explains that DBT “establishes a ‘dialectic’ between helping individuals to accept the reality of their lives and their own behaviors on the one hand and helping them learn to change their lives, including dysfunctional behaviors, on the other.” This is accomplished through teaching and reinforcing skills in four fundamental areas, known as the four modules in three distinct therapeutic settings (weekly individual psychotherapy sessions, weekly group DBT skills training therapy sessions, and as-needed phone coaching). The four modules of DBT are core mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.

Emotion Regulation Skills

Emotion regulation can be explained as “the ability to exert control over one’s own emotional state.” The goals of this module are threefold: to understand one’s emotions, reduce emotional vulnerability, and decrease emotional suffering. The emotion regulation modules focuses on skills that are aimed to help an individual learn to decrease the intensity of their emotions, sit with, and experience strong unwanted emotions, without impulsively acting on them, examples include:

  • Opposite action skill: As the name suggests, individuals are taught to act the opposite of how they feel. First, identify how you are feeling and do the opposite (e.g., if you are feeling sad and want to withdraw from loved ones, make plans to spend time with them instead).
  • Cope ahead skill: This skill is intended encourage individuals to consider how they might be prepared in some way to reduce stress ahead of the time. Come up with a plan that prepares you to skillfully navigate and cope with emotional situations.
  • Positive self-talk skill: Positive self-talk encourages self-confidence, effective coping, achievement, and a general feeling of well-being. Select a few affirmations, or positive statements, that speak to you and then repeat them regularly.

This DBT module focuses on helping an individual identify, name, understand the function of, and regulate their emotions.

Treatment In Calabasas

Calabasas is a city in California. It is a well-known suburb of Los Angeles, located west of the San Fernando Valley and north of the Santa Monica Mountains. Over the past decade, the city of Calabasas has grown in its reputation for luxury as well as for privacy which makes it a hidden gem for residential living for society’s elite, and one of the most desirable destinations in Los Angeles County. It is also home to a plethora of highly qualified mental health clinicians providing an array of therapeutic services and treatment options. 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.