Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is commonly used to treat people with borderline personality disorder who have suicidal thoughts, as well as eating disorders, substance dependence, depression, and post-traumatic stress syndrome. The main goal of DBT is to teach patients important skills, like mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. The four components used in DBT include:
DBT Skills Training Group
People using DBT to treat an issue meet in a group on a regular basis for skills training. In these group classes, the group leader focuses on teaching the main behavioral skills utilized by this type of therapy. In addition to partaking in group classes, the skills train group also requires the patients to complete homework assigned by the group leader. Completing a full DBT skills training group class typically takes several months.
DBT Individual Therapy
DBT individual therapy takes place at the same time as the skills training group. During individual DBT therapy, patients have the opportunity to work with a therapist one on one. During the therapy sessions, the therapist will help the patient learn how to use the skills taught in training group for specific challenges or problems that they patient may be facing in his or her life. DBT individual training can last for as long as the patient would like, even after DBT skills training group is completed.
Since DBT is designed to help people with complex conditions, phone coaching is an important part of the therapy model. Therapists are always available to their patients via the phone. If a patient needs help, he or she can call their therapist in between sessions. Ensuring that the patient has immediate access to their therapist helps the patient get assistance when it is needed most or when a large problem arises.
DBT Therapist Consultation Team
While DBT can be very effective, it can also be very draining for therapy providers. Patients undergoing DBT often have complex and severe conditions, and working with them on a regular basis and helping with their issues can be difficult. The DBT Therapist consultation team, such as that at Treatment Implementation Collaborative, is a component of DBT that provides support for the therapists and group leaders.
This team works together to help keep the DBT providers motivated and eager to help the patients. Group leaders and individual therapists meet regularly to discuss patients and how they can help improve their treatment. By working together, group leaders and individual therapists take equal responsibility for patient care.