Dialectical behavior therapy: managing emotions
The Dialectical Behavior Therapy was initially used for patients with borderline personality disorder who normally do not have coping mechanisms for their extreme fluctuations in emotion. The goal is to help them manage their emotions and improve their social skills.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy is also used for other types of psychological problems, such as eating disorders and substance abuse, and for people who have suicidal tendencies.
Formally, Dialectical Behavior Therapy is a protocol used to treat suicidal and parasuicidal behaviors. In these terms, this therapy is more like a practice or strategy than a therapy in itself. It seems to be something else that is used in a broader therapeutic procedure.
What happens in the Dialectical Behavior Therapy sessions?
Dialectical Behavior Therapy is divided into three stages.
Stage 1: reaching basic skills
In this first stage of Dialectical Behavior Therapy, therapeutic goals are established for the treatment of patients. The goals are:
- Reduce suicide or parasuicide behavior;
- Decrease behaviors that interfere with therapy;
- Reduce behaviors that interfere with quality of life;
- Promotion of inner skills.
Thus, it’s possible to verify that at that moment if the therapist begins to clear the ground for what comes next. For a successful process, it’s important if the patient is unsuccessful in future suicide attempts, in addition to minimizing what is causing this desire. Furthermore, it’s essential to ensure that the person will continue to participate in the therapy.
Some ways to do provide this are to ensure that the person gives up on:
- Isolating during the session;
- Refusing to work on therapy;
- Not talking;
- Withdrawing emotionally;
- Discussing the therapist’s statements incessantly.
Stage 2: post-traumatic stress reduction
Then it’s time to work through all the stress that comes with suicide attempts. However, that is not all that needs to be addressed in the life of someone who tried to kill themselves. See that the causes for this are extremely informative about what traumatizes and stresses the patient.
In many cases of Dialectical Behavior Therapy, individuals need to describe and accept a very common traumatic situation, which is sexual abuse. Thus, at that moment, every victim goes through a process of synthesizing what happened, trying to accept the experience.
Stage 3: solving life problems and increasing self-respect
Finally, it’s time for patient to learn to walk on his own legs. Note that therapy can be associated with the process of breastfeeding a baby. When you start to insert solid foods in your diet, breastfeeding is not stopped right away. It’s necessary to reduce the frequency of ingestion of breast milk while solid food is introduced more robustly.
With regard to Dialectical Behavior Therapy, this is more or less what happens. The responsible therapist will reinforce behaviors related to the patient’s ability to trust themselves. In addition, the therapy process will help the person to validate their own opinions, emotions and actions. That way, the patient will be able to deal with life more and more independently.
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