Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a form of psychotherapy used to treat a variety of mental health disorders, including borderline personality disorder (BPD). DBT is a branch of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that deals with the thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, and actions of a person. It was developed in the 1970s by an American psychologist named Marsha Linehan.

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health disorder that affects the way you feel about yourself and others. This condition can make it difficult to maintain relationships, manage emotions, and control behaviors. DBT therapy for BPD relieves the symptoms of mental illness and helps clients regain self-confidence.

It is critical to get treatment for BPD as soon as it starts affecting your life. If you or a loved one is struggling with symptoms related to BPD, don’t hesitate to receive an evaluation from our professional treatment facility in Orange County, CA.

What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)?

dbt therapy for bpd

Often referred to as “talk therapy”, dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a type of psychotherapy that treats people who experience intense emotions. DBT helps people learn to accept themselves for who they are. It also helps people positively change their lives by getting rid of unhelpful thoughts and behaviors.

DBT originates from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a type of therapy used to treat a person’s cognitive functions. DBT focuses on emotional and social functions, while CBT focuses more on behaviors. Both are effective methods of therapy, but they are used to treat different types of mental illness.

What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Used For?

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is used to treat people who have trouble dealing with powerful emotions. Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is most commonly treated by DBT. People with BPD have difficulty with confidence and self-image. To help manage these thoughts and feelings, therapists will help clients see the other side of things and promote positive thinking.

Aside from BPD, DBT can help treat conditions such as:

The common factor with all of these mental health conditions is that they stem from the inability to control intense, negative emotions. Unfortunately, many people never seek treatment for these issues. DBT offers a safe space for people to share their emotions with a professional psychiatrist.

How Does Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Work?

The main goal of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is to help clients learn how to healthily regulate their emotions. Therapists who engage in DBT teach clients how to accept themselves for who they are by developing positive thoughts and behaviors.

The structure of DBT sessions may vary depending on the therapist, but four main components will be covered.

During the pre-assessment, a therapist will determine if DBT is the right form of therapy for you. They may run diagnostics such as screening questions and physical exams. Then you will agree to the length of therapy and commit to the treatment.

Individual therapy in Orange County, CA consists of weekly sessions with a therapist, lasting from 40-60 minutes. Some of the goals covered during individual therapy include:

  • Keeping you safe by reducing self-harming behaviors
  • Limiting behavior that interrupts productive therapy
  • Addressing what’s blocking your therapy goals
  • Helping clients achieve personal progress

Unlike group therapy, skills training is more like a class lecture. Clients with similar mental health conditions learn healthy ways to cope with and regulate their emotions. Four skills you will learn during these sessions are:

  • Mindfulness
  • Interpersonal effectiveness
  • Distress tolerance
  • Emotional regulation

DBT typically includes telephone crisis coaching, when clients in distress can call their therapist outside of sessions to talk about overwhelming emotions. This gives clients extra support throughout the recovery process.

Following this outline, therapists and clients work together to overcome mental illness. The skills learned during this time can be applied to any situation a person is faced with.

What are the Benefits and Risks of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)?

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) effectively treats mental health disorders, particularly those suffering from borderline personality disorder (BPD). Using DBT therapy for BPD results in:

Depending on the severity of a client’s mental health disorder, DBT may not be an effective form of treatment. It can be very difficult for those who aren’t fully committed to healing themselves. DBT is most likely to work if you:

  • Are open to receiving treatment
  • Want to make changes in your life
  • Are ready to let go of the past and focus on the present and future
  • Are open to working in a group setting

What is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)?

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental illness that negatively affects the way you perceive yourself and others. BPD causes emotional instability, relationship problems, and irrational behavior.

With BPD you have a consuming fear of loneliness and abandonment. However, the irrational behavior and mood swings onset by BPD can push people away and damage relationships. Symptoms of BPD include:

  • Intense fear of abandonment
  • Unstable relationships
  • Rapid changes in self-identity including goals and values
  • Stress-related paranoia or psychosis, lasting from minutes to hours
  • Risky behavior such as substance use, gambling, sabotaging success, or suddenly ending relationships
  • Suicidal or self-harming behaviors
  • Mood swings ranging from intense happiness to severe depression
  • Inappropriate, irrational behavior such as fighting or losing your temper

BPD usually starts at its worst in adolescence and gradually improves as a person gets older. BPD can feel overwhelming and impossible to overcome, but proper treatment can help alleviate the symptoms over time. Those who have gone through DBT therapy for BPD can find fulfillment and happiness despite their condition.

How is DBT Effective for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)?

dialectical behavior therapy

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) makes it extremely hard to regulate emotions, which is why dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is the most effective treatment. DBT benefits those who lack self-confidence and are emotionally unstable. Going through DBT will alleviate the pain of BPD and lead to emotional balance.

DBT therapy for BPD helps clients better understand their struggle with mental illness. One of the first steps in treatment is accepting you have an uncontrollable disease. DBT therapy for BPD is mainly effective because of how it targets the thoughts, feelings, and emotions of a person.

Before seeking treatment, a person may have been compartmentalizing their feelings for an extended time. Those who have left BPD untreated for years may have extreme difficulty with DBT. DBT therapy for BPD may be frustrating at first, but you must stick with it to improve.

How Do I Find a DBT Therapist?

A therapist who offers dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) can be a psychiatrist, psychiatric nurse, social worker, psychologist, or family therapist in Costa Mesa, CA. Your chosen therapist should be one you are comfortable with and trust.

It may be difficult to find a therapist that is right for you. Do not let this dissuade you from receiving treatment. Ask your doctor, friends, or family members for a referral and weigh a few options. When deciding on a therapist, make sure that they are a licensed professional.

Be sure to check which therapists treat borderline personality disorder (BPD). Most therapists include a list of mental health conditions they treat on their websites. You can also call or email a therapist to see if they can treat BPD.

How Long Does DBT Last?

The length of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) typically ranges from six months to a year. However, the length of therapy will vary from person to person. Mental health disorders in Orange County, CA affect everyone in different ways. When beginning DBT, you should not expect to be done in a year.

Those with borderline personality disorder (BPD) often require several years of therapy to fully heal. The complexity of this mental illness makes it hard to eliminate.

Do not get discouraged if you are struggling with BPD. Every day you participate in treatment, you are healing yourself. Whether you realize it or not, your brain is overcoming mental illness during every session. Remember that you are in therapy for a reason, to rid yourself of disease.

Adler Health Can Assist Borderline Personality Disorder with DBT

dbt therapy for bpd orange county

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) can affect every aspect of a person’s life. Without treatment, this mental illness can severely impair someone’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions. BPD affects emotional regulation, leading to intense mood swings and self-harming behavior.

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) can relieve clients suffering from BPD. DBT therapy for BPD helps people overcome mental illness by focusing on their emotional and social functions to improve self-confidence and emotional regulation.

Located in Costa Mesa, CA, Adler Health offers a comprehensive DBT program designed to help clients overcome mental illness for good. We work with each client to determine what treatment is best for them based on their evaluation. Contact us to learn more about our treatment options!