DBT identifies irrational thought patterns and refocuses them to develop healthier ways to interact with the world. Patients may have developed these behaviors as coping mechanisms. They may not have built healthier emotional skills due to neglect or abuse during their formative years. Patients are often resistant to other forms of treatment, sometimes growing resentful of the process for the very reasons they sought assistance in the first place. DBT has subsequently proved to be effective in treating alcoholism and substance abuse disorders and has gained popularity as a part of many addiction treatment programs.

Identifying thought patterns

Dialectical behavior therapy practitioners approach counseling sessions with the view that the patient has adopted a system of distorted thought patterns which manifest in dysfunctional and often self-destructive behavior. Suicidal tendencies, self-harm, and addictions are often examples of this.

By identifying these patterns and then tracing their origins, the therapist works with the patient to understand why they feel the way they do. They can then reframe these perceptions and create healthier methods of dealing with situations.

How does DBT work?

DBT works to change a patient’s self-image and their view of the world using several key principles.

These include:

Core mindfulness

Based on Eastern meditation techniques. Patients develop an awareness of the present moment and focus objectively on themselves and the people around them. They learn to remove their irrational negative biases from situations, and respond in a healthy, positive way.

Distress tolerance

Learn to cope with difficult situations without resorting to previously dysfunctional thinking. Helps patients stop themselves from reacting impulsively or resorting to self-harming behavior. Begin to understand that, there are some things that cannot be controlled.

Interpersonal effectiveness

Helps to develop communication and interpersonal skills beneficial in creating healthy relationships with others and oneself. Learn to constructively work through conflict and positively express feelings or needs leads to empowerment and a more healthy sense of self.

Emotion regulation

Therapists assist patients to identify and label emotions without judging feelings. Allows a person to understand how emotions influence behavior, recognize things stopping them from managing themselves, and respond better to unsettling events.

Implementing DBT for addiction

Using both one-on-one and sometimes group therapy, DBT emphasizes the partnership between the counselor, the patient, and those closest to them to help them form new ways of dealing with the world. Changing attitudes and expectations ultimately leads to a change in behavior away from old habits of self-harm, including substance abuse.

Proactive new strategies include:

Learn to recognize and move toward healthy environments and social circles

Removing triggers and negative influences from their lives

Find new ways to boost self-image and focus on sobriety, even under pressure

Supportive programs

Psyclarity Health New Jersey provides patient-centric programs incorporating a number of treatment modalities, including DBT, as part of its addiction therapy. Following successful completion of Acute Treatment Services to eliminate the physical effects of substance abuse, psychologists and counselors are able to concentrate on the psychological issues at the root of the problem. Psyclarity Health provides various programs to support its psychotherapeutic treatments. These are designed to teach coping skills, relaxation techniques, good health practices, and offer spiritual guidance, such as:

Life-Skills Courses

Trauma Therapy

Family Therapy

Stress Management Techniques

Relapse Prevention Training

DBT techniques can also be integrated with activities such as:

Art Therapy

Music Sessions

Guided Imagery


Preparation for the road ahead

In addition to reinforcing new coping strategies, in many cases, new activities expose patients to different situations in which they may discover hidden depths of strength and resilience. Psyclarity Health’s qualified team of caring healthcare practitioners who are skilled at guiding patients toward experiences that will affirm their newfound belief in themselves.

The road to sobriety is not an easy one, but with a fresh perspective on the world, and the tools to handle challenges, DBT can provide a better foundation for a fulfilling, healthy life. At Psyclarity Health New Jersey, we provide specialized outpatient treatment programs for men battling addiction and co-occurring disorders. In addition to DBT, we offer a wide range of treatment therapies designed to address all aspects of the disorder.

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