At Turning Point, our treatment does not have a singular or narrow focus, instead, it approaches rehab from a holistic perspective. We engage our patients in a way that ensures they get multi-level care through treatment that addresses not only the substance abuse or addiction but any mental health or mood disorders that they may struggle with. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy or DBT is a dynamic, transformative and progressive way to treat addiction, especially when it’s within a dual diagnosis situation.
DBT Is A Cornerstone Within Our Treatment
We employ an expert and compassionate team of physicians and psychotherapists who focus treatment on these co-occurring disorders so that by alleviating poor and dysfunctional mental states, our clients have the greatest chance at sobriety and success. We understand that in these dual diagnosis situations, a person has the greatest chance at sobriety and success if each is treated in pursuit of the same goal.
We employ licensed therapists who integrate DBT into our outpatient and residential therapy. Research illustrates that this treatment has great success within addiction medicine. Under our expert guidance, it can be integrated within a person’s treatment, as it skillfully assists them in examining their life so that they can identify, change, accept and cope with unhealthful behaviors that undermine their wellbeing and chances of recovery.
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What Is DBT?
DBT was pioneered by Dr. Marsha M. Linehan in response to her own personal experiences with a mental health disorder. Dr. Linehan initially developed this model as a means to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD), but since it has been shown to be a widely effective treatment for other conditions. Research shows that in addition to substance abuse, it is effective for, but not limited to the following: anxiety, depression, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and suicidal tendencies.
The phenomenal thing about this is that its dynamic nature as a treatment tool makes it the perfect approach for a dual diagnosis therapy. It allows us to also treat the latter conditions mentioned above in conjunction with the addiction, which is key, because these co-occurring disorders may aggravate or cause a person’s addiction.
DBT is similar to cognitive behavioral therapy in the manner that it engages and instructs a person on how to change the thoughts and behaviors that are causing them problems. However, it goes beyond this and helps to direct a client towards learning how to embrace acceptance. An article published in Addiction Science & Clinical Practice that was co-authored by Dr. Linehan, expounded on this, stating that “The word dialectic refers to the synthesis of two opposites. The fundamental principle of DBT is to create a dynamic that promotes two opposed goals for patients: change and acceptance.”
DBT Allows Us To Treat Each Person In The Unique Way That They Deserve
When treating substance abuse or addiction, it is crucial to remember that every person who is in need of treatment and comes to us for help is different. This is something that greatly influences the scope of our care. Each person is unique, having come from a wide and varied life. It is this history that informs our decisions when we tailor our treatment to their specific needs. We understand that the sum of their experiences, the intensity, and frequency of their drug or alcohol use, and the presence of any co-occurring mental health concerns all shape the manner and direction of care that a person needs to receive within our treatment program.
DBT Helps To Break The Harmful Cycle That Fuels Addiction
Substance abuse and addiction are quite commonly tied to a person’s negative, impaired or abnormal emotions or mindsets. Despite the prevalence of these things within a person’s life, the individual may not be able to determine what specifically is causing the imbalance that manifests as harmful behaviors like addiction. DBT recognizes that these emotions begin with damaging thoughts that further manifest as destructive emotions.
Addiction is characterized by compulsive behaviors that remain unchanged despite the presence of repetitive harm that arises from this drug-seeking and user behavior. This results from and further perpetuates a vicious cycle—as a person strives to contend with these damaging emotions and behaviors, they begin to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol, which in turn promotes this self-destructive cycle of self-harm. Left unchecked, this chain of events builds bad behaviors, which creates more negative thoughts that begin the cycle anew.
Negative, contorted or unfounded thoughts and emotions can prevent a person from healing and moving forward. Addiction is often rooted in behavioral issues that have been present in a person’s life for a prolonged period of time. DBT is a very active form of treatment, one that teaches and encourages a person to both be proactive in recognizing these detrimental and damaging patterns and proactive about establishing new behaviors and mindsets that foster positive growth and change. Your therapist will help you to determine what is driving these behaviors and how to change and cope with these oppressive influences without letting them cripple you with feelings of self-blame.
How We Utilize DBT For Substance Abuse Treatment
DBT is pivotal within our treatment for substance abuse. This evidence-based treatment allows us to help and support people in the following ways:
- Helps to support and comfort a person while they undergo withdrawal, including helping to alleviate the accompanying physical discomfort.
- Helps to reduce the cravings and temptations that could lead a person to relapse.
- Instructs a person in ways to recreate a lifestyle that supports sobriety and healthy recovery, including removing people, places, events and circumstances that may trigger a craving or provide access or temptation to drugs.
- Works towards restoring emotional and mental balance.
- Helps you to identify behaviors that are detrimental to your pursuit of sobriety
- Supports and strengthens emotional growth, helping you to restore yourself to a more balanced emotional state.
- Teaches community reinforcement. Directs you in ways to restructure your life to encourage abstinence, including finding new or reinvesting in old and healthier friendships and behaviors and social or vocational environments.
What DBT Teaches You
According to information sourced from a University of Washington publication on DBT, DBT teaches you the following four aspects of behavioral skills:
Mindfulness: This is a practice that encourages a person to be present at the moment. This allows them space that can foster introspection and awareness, healthful mindsets that are necessary for developing acceptance of one’s self and the circumstances that surround them.
Distress Tolerance: Oftentimes in life, we experience events, people or problems that are out of our control. Instead of being reactive and using drugs or alcohol to moderate the resultant emotional reaction, DBT encourages a person to utilize proactive coping skills that can help a person to move through and beyond the situation, tolerating and even changing the emotions during these trying times.
Interpersonal Effectiveness: This teaches a person how to establish healthy boundaries and respect for both themselves and others that can protect and balance them within their relationships.
Emotion Regulation: Emotions can lead to impulsive and compulsive behaviors that fuel and surround drug use. This training helps a person to learn how to differentiate between their emotions while granting them the coping skills that are necessary to temper and encounter them in a healthy way. This leads to positive results and progress instead of allowing a person to remain stagnant or back-slide into habits of avoidance or self-harm.
How Does It Work?
At Turning Point, we have our client’s best interests at heart. Out treatment program has been carefully and mindfully crafted to embody the most relevant and successful practices known within addiction medicine. This is why we utilize DBT.
There are four components of DBT:
Skills Training Group: These group sessions work towards increasing a person’s resilience and functioning within their life by teaching them healthy behavioral skills. Offered as a part of both outpatient and inpatient treatments, these sessions may occur anywhere from several times a week to every day. In an inpatient setting, the skills training is more intensive so that our residents glean the full benefit of the protocol during their residential stay.
Individual Therapy: These sessions occur on a weekly level. The one-on-one setting fosters positive growth and change by helping to improve our client’s initiative in combating the circumstances within their life that might typically foster unhealthful thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
DBT Coaching: Life isn’t always easy. Throughout the course of your day, you will be confronted with situations, people, choices and experiences that may prove difficult. Our coaching helps to instill in you the confidence and coping skills that can help you to effectively and positively overcome these moments.
Therapist Consultation Team: In order to provide you with the highest and most attentive and informed standard of care, we are continuously educating and inspiring our therapists. Our care teams, consisting of our therapists and group leaders, generally meet on a weekly basis to instill the continued passion, drive, and skill that is foundational towards providing our patients with exceptional care.
Unlike other programs, we use DBT in its entirety, our therapists employ the full DBT model within their sessions. Our patients deserve the best and most attentive module of care. Other programs might pick and choose only portions of DBT, which can short-change their patients and leave them without the full arsenal of therapy and skills that can make the difference in overcoming your addiction or substance abuse.
Helping A Person To Reinstate Balance In Their Life
Our goal at Turning Point is to work with a person during their treatment here so that they can leave with the tools and skills that will help them to upkeep and nurture their recovery. DBT helps to prepare a person for this time in the following ways:
- Helping you to regain control over your thoughts and emotions by learning valuable behavioral skills so that you can move forward and begin to remove damaging behaviors from your life.
- In order to develop a state of emotional balance, you will learn how to substitute healthier and more proactive behaviors and responses while also using coping skills that you develop within the therapy
- Learning how to be more in touch with your emotions. This teaches you to deal with them as they come, instead of burying them inside of you which can foster the damaging cycle we spoke of.
- Learning skills to cope with the day-to-day moments of your life, including the circumstances and environments that may incite a trigger or craving that could lead to relapse. Our therapy teaches you how to interact with people in a healthful and productive manner that protects your recovery.
- Helping you to feel a sense of wholeness, while reconnecting you to your life.
The aforementioned article, co-authored by Dr. Linehan, spoke of this, stating that “When DBT is successful, the patient learns to envision, articulate, pursue, and sustain goals that are independent of his or her history of out-of-control behavior, including substance abuse, and is better able to grapple with life’s ordinary problems.”
Experience Treatment With Compassion And A Proven Record For Success
DBT works. Our expert and compassionate staff can offer you unparalleled therapy as part of your drug or alcohol rehabilitation. Wellness and mindfulness come from within, we can help you to find strength and learn valuable skills so that you can harness the success that you deserve.
- National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine — Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Substance Abusers