What is dialectics?
Dialectics means trying to balance seemingly opposing positions and look at how they go together. For example, trying to balance accepting yourself as you are whilst making positive changes in your life.
What is dialectical behaviour therapy?
Dialectical behaviour therapy or DBT is a psychological treatment to help:
- people who may have difficulties managing their emotions
- those displaying borderline personality traits who may be using coping strategies that have a negative impact on their lives e.g. self-harm, chaotic, and risky behaviours.
For some people life can feel unbearable at times. This type of therapy is based on the assumption that people can ‘build a life worth living’.
DBT helps people to develop specific skills to ease their emotional suffering and make positive changes.
Is DBT for me?
You may find this therapy helpful if you experience:
- fear of abandonment
- relationship difficulties and problems communicating your needs when upset
- disturbances in sense of self
- impulsive behaviour; for example self-harm or suicide, overspending, binge eating
- intense anxiety, irritability or low mood which typically lasts a few hours but rarely longer than a few days
- a sense of emptiness
- difficulties with anger
- stress that brings about a feeling of disconnect or that others are working to harm you.
You will be offered an individual assessment with a therapist where we can talk about the difficulties you may be experiencing. Together we will decide if DBT may be helpful.
What are the benefits?
Evidence shows that DBT it is effective in reducing self-harm and self-destructive behaviours. You may also benefit in other ways as we address issues that have been causing you difficulties in your life.
What are the risks?
As with other therapies, DBT is not without risk. Your condition may get worse as you begin to address some difficult issues raised within therapy. There is a very good support network in place to help you deal with this if needed. Your therapist will discuss this with you.
What does DBT cover?
The therapy focuses on four key areas:
Mindfulness helps you to become more aware of your body, thoughts and feelings. It helps you to pay attention to what is happening in the present moment rather than being preoccupied with things that have happened in the past or may happen in the future.
Exploring ways to effectively communicate and cope with conflict.
Identifying and naming emotions to help you recognise and understand how you are feeling. It also supports you to develop skills to help you manage difficult and intense emotions.
Developing techniques to help you accept and move on from difficult and painful events that cannot be changed. Skills include distracting, self-soothing, and improving the moment.
How is DBT delivered?
DBT is generally delivered as part of a group. In some cases patients may also be offered individual sessions. We will discuss this with you and agree together which DBT pathway would be best suited to your needs.
Skills groups are held weekly and last approximately two hours. Groups will have between eight and 12 members and are delivered by trained DBT therapists. You will be expected to commit for the duration of the programme.
Those on the ‘full programme’ will have regular one-to-one sessions with a therapist as well as weekly skills group sessions. You will be asked to practice what you learn in the groups and complete diaries. Your care co-ordinator will continue to be involved in your care.
How long does DBT take?
The duration of therapy would depend on the DBT care pathway but will take between six and 12 months.
What we ask of you:
We ask individuals to:
- attend all sessions
- carry out between session tasks
- be motivated and willing to change.
We realise that there may be unforeseen events that stop you from attending. We ask that you please let us know if you are unable to attend before the session starts.
If you miss four consecutive sessions of either group or individual therapy then you will be discharged from the DBT programme.
Is therapy confidential?
We have a duty to keep your information about you confidential. If your therapist is concerned that you are a risk to yourself or others, they will inform you that they will need to seek help or support from another professional/team.
L1067, V1, 17/07/2019 (Archive: 17/07/2022)