What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a treatment for individuals who have difficulty managing their emotions and behaviors. This may mean that they feel emotions more intensely than other people, making them difficult to tolerate. As a result, individuals might attempt to cope with painful emotions by engaging in harmful behaviors such as self-injury, substance abuse, or unhealthy eating. A renowned treatment for managing emotions and behavior, DBT helps people experience and regulate their emotions without necessarily acting on them. As an evidence-based treatment, it has been shown through research to be an effective approach in treating numerous difficulties.
Dialectics are a key element of DBT. A dialectic is an idea that two seemingly opposing ideas can both be true. DBT balances the dialectic of acceptance and change— two things that at face value seem to be the opposites, though when practiced together, can enable individuals to improve their lives. Out DBT Therapists work to help individuals and families learn to tolerate distress, validate emotions and accept things as they are, while also working to help change patterns of thoughts and behaviors that may contribute to challenges such as depression, self-harm, and suicidal thinking. These concepts are an integral part of each component in a comprehensive DBT program and are emphasized throughout treatment in New Jersey and New York City areas.
We work with all ages to ensure everyone from Princeton and Edison, NJ, to Union County, NJ, and NYC, receive the right treatment for their needs.
How DBT Therapy Can Help
DBT offers a set of skills for each “problem area” to help individuals and families cope with these challenges. DBT skills teach how to address negative patterns of thoughts and behaviors by replacing them with more skillful ways of thinking and acting and how to tolerate difficult emotions. These specific skills include mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and walking the middle path.
The most effective approach to DBT is a comprehensive one that consists of four main components: skills training (typically in a group format), individual therapy, phone coaching, and family and parent sessions. Each of these offers a unique type of support to individuals and their families, creating a well-rounded approach.
We offer DBT therapy across NJ and NYC to ensure you find the help you deserve. Learn more about our services and the areas we serve like East Brunswick, Somerset County, Middlesex County, and more when you contact our experts today!
Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Individuals of all Ages in NJ, NY, & Beyond
Comprehensive DBT for Adolescents (DBT-A)
The DBT-A Program at the Center for CBT is the first of its kind in Middlesex County. With the overarching goal of building a life worth living, DBT helps adolescents develop a tool kit of strategies to deal with the myriad of personal, social, familial, and academic challenges during this developmental stage. As parents are essential figures in their teens’ lives, one or both must play an active role in the treatment process by attending the multi-family skills group and, as needed, parent and family sessions. Parent participation helps parents to more effectively validate and respond to their teen’s emotional difficulties, as well as to better manage their own emotions.
Comprehensive DBT Program for Young Adults (DBT-YA)
The DBT-YA Program at the Center for CBT is designed to address the unique challenges that come with emerging adulthood. Individuals experiencing this transitional period may be faced with one or more life-changing situations. This period of adjustment can be particularly challenging for individuals who have difficulty with behaviors such as emotional dysregulation, tolerating distress, controlling impulses, and maintaining healthy interpersonal relationships. DBT-YA fosters increased independence in young adults by equipping them with the skills necessary to face their challenges skillfully and with confidence.
DBT Skills Group
The DBT Skills Group is designed for participants who do not require participation in our Comprehensive DBT Program and are looking to learn DBT skills. This may include clients whose symptoms are less severe or who are receiving individual therapy with an outside clinician. The adolescent DBT skills group is for both teens and their parents, while the young adult group is only for the client themself. DBT Skills Group teaches participants skills related to mindfulness, tolerating painful emotions in difficult situations, interpersonal effectiveness, managing emotions, and walking the middle path. The group has a class-like format that includes handouts, take-home exercises, and experiential activities.
DBT for Children and Families (DBT-CF)
DBT-CF is a unique program for school-age children with emotion regulation difficulties. The specific skills of mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness are based on the DBT-A skills curriculum but taught with several modifications. As the strengths and skill deficits for each child and family can be quite varied, the treatment format for DBT-CF includes a combination of individual child treatment, parenting strategies, and/or family skills training. Treatment is typically conducted during two therapy sessions per week, with the specific modes of treatment individually determined based on the needs of each family.
WHAT CHALLENGES DOES DBT ADDRESS?
The overarching goal of DBT is to help individuals and families build lives worth living whether they are in NJ or NYC. DBT therapy aims to address five main “problem areas” to help participants identify short-term and long-term goals to build the life they want to live.
Confusion of the Self: Being unaware of one’s own emotions, not understanding thoughts and urges, or being unsure of why one feels or acts in certain ways. This may manifest as feeling stuck in the past or worrying about the future, both of which are patterns of thought that make it difficult to focus on and be present in the moment.
Emotion Dysregulation: Dysregulation occurs when one feels emotions intensely and has little control over managing them and/or resulting behavior. This can look like fast and intense mood changes or a long-lasting negative emotional state such as depression.
Impulsivity: This can be acting on emotion or urge without evaluating the possible outcomes or consequences. Impulsive actions can include substance use, self-harm, impulsive eating, and verbal or physical outbursts fueled by anger.
Interpersonal Problems: This pertains to relationships with others, including peers. Interpersonal challenges may result in difficulty maintaining healthy relationships, lots of conflict in relationships, and potential loneliness due to the way relationships have been adversely affected.
Family Challenges: While conflicts between family members may be the norm, significant conflict can be an area of concern. Challenges commonly faced include difficulty understanding each other’s emotions, actions, or points of view. Individuals and families may also be “polarized,” or think and act in extreme ways.
Our DBT therapists are dedicated to helping teens and families in Princeton, Edison, North Brunswick, NJ, and across the extended area. If you would like to learn more about our DBT services in NJ or NYC, contact us today.
Gold Standard Treatment For Those Who Have Difficulty With Emotional Regulation & Other Challenges
DBT is a gold standard treatment for individuals who have difficulties with emotional regulation and other complex challenges. Originally developed to treat individuals with borderline personality disorder, DBT has been adapted, studied, and found to be effective in helping adolescents and young adults dealing with multiple problems, including chronic difficulties with managing emoting healthy interpersonal relationships, tolerating distress, and controlling impulses.
DBT can help reduce:
- Suicide attempt
- Self-harming behavior
- Mood & anger responses
- & More
Components of Our Comprehensive DBT Treatment Programs in New Jersey, New York City, and Beyond
Skills Training: DBT Skills Group (or individual family skills for younger children) focuses on teaching participants skills in mindfulness, tolerating painful emotions in difficult situations, interpersonal effectiveness, managing emotions, and walking the middle path. It has a class-like format that includes handouts, take-home exercises, and experiential activities. Despite the interactive style, there is no expectation that group members share information that is uncomfortable for them to discuss.
Individual Therapy: During individual therapy, clients apply the skills they have learned in group or family skills to their specific challenges. Individual sessions in DBT are structured and collaborative in terms of identifying behaviors targeted for change, generating solution strategies, applying the skills learned, and improving decision-making skills.
Phone Coaching: Clients and caregivers are encouraged to call their therapists between sessions for brief phone calls during any challenging situations to discuss strategies to effectively cope. These “coaching calls” help clients and their parents to generalize the skills they are learning to their real-world environment.
Parent/Family Sessions: Sessions with parents/caregivers, both with and without the client, are provided on an as-needed basis.
Our DBT experts will help you identify and address your needs and provide customized treatment.
HISTORY OF DBT
DBT was developed as an alternative treatment for challenges that were not successfully addressed by cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) alone. DBT draws heavily from such behavioral treatments in combination with eastern philosophies to treat the more complex concerns of self-harm and emotion dysregulation. DBT shares a similar goal in helping people understand the connections between their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and how changing adverse patterns of thought and behavior can improve how they feel. The method was initially developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan to treat adults with borderline personality disorder. It has also been adapted to treat adolescents and pre-teen children with severe trouble managing their emotions.