Women might feel overwhelmed when they seek treatment for eating disorders and other mental health difficulties. There are numerous therapy strategies because no single method works for everyone. Just reading the names of these treatments can make the search confusing. One example is dialectical behavioral therapy. However, what it is and how it works is simpler than the name sounds.

About Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

A husband talks to his wife about her dialectical behavioral therapy or DBT treatmentThis form of mental health treatment is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Its purpose is to educate women to deal with stress in healthy ways and regulate their emotions. It also teaches them how to improve their relationships and live in the moment.

Dr. Marsha Linehan and her colleagues developed the therapy technique in the late 1980s. They discovered that CBT alone wasn’t enough to help those with borderline personality disorder. By adding different methods, they created a treatment that meets people’s unique needs. Since then, experts have adopted it to treat several disorders.

During dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), women learn that everything affects each other and that change is certain and constant. They work with therapists to resolve apparent discrepancies between change and self-acceptance to promote positive change.

In general, women in treatment attend weekly individual therapy sessions that last for about one hour. They talk about their problematic behaviors from the previous week. Then, their therapists work with them to improve their coping and problem-solving skills to facilitate positive behaviors.

Women also participate in weekly group sessions that involve skills training. The sessions can last for about two-and-half hours. A therapist leads the group, teaching them skills and showing them how to apply those skills in everyday life.

Treatment in Stages

There are four stages of DBT treatment across the weeks of therapy. What happens during each stage depends on the women’s behaviors. Also, there’s no set time frame for each stage so that they can progress at their own pace. In either case, therapists provide support as they achieve their treatment goals.

In the first stage of DBT, women often have out-of-control behavior and are miserable. They could try to harm or even kill themselves. Some of them use alcohol or drugs and engage in self-destructive activities. The therapist’s objective is to help them achieve control over their behavior.

Women might feel as though they live in quiet desperation during the second stage. Although their behavior is under control, they continue to suffer from trauma or similar issues. Therapists aim to treat co-occurring disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder if it’s part of the women’s diagnoses.

During the third stage of dialectical behavioral therapy, women learn to live. They define goals for their lives and grow respect for themselves. They also achieve happiness and peace.

Not all women need the fourth stage of treatment. It involves finding a deeper meaning in life through spirituality. It’s only necessary when living with ordinary happiness and unhappiness doesn’t work. During this stage, women transition from feeling incomplete to leading a life of ongoing experiences of freedom and joy.

Skills Training

Learning skills and how to apply them in everyday situations is one of the main components of DBT. Most of the skills training occur in a class-like group setting. Clients get homework every week to practice the skills in real life.

Mindfulness is an essential skill that teaches women how to accept moments in the present. Doing so prevents them from acting or reacting with negative behaviors. Interpersonal effectiveness improves how they interact with others. They learn how to ask for what they want, refuse an offer, and cope with conflicts in healthy, effective ways.

Distress tolerance is a dialectical behavioral therapy skill that teaches women how to deal with pain. It’s a natural development from mindfulness that helps them tolerate and survive crises. Emotion regulation allows women to identify and label their emotions and obstacles so that they can apply distress tolerance strategies. They also learn how to increase mindfulness and positive emotional events.

Magnolia Creek Can Help You or Your Loved One

Do you want to get eating disorder or mental health treatment for yourself or a loved one? Magnolia Creek Treatment Center for Eating Disorders can customize a unique treatment plan. Our goal is healing in a peaceful environment where clients feel comfortable.

At Magnolia Creek, we can treat a variety of eating disorder and mental health conditions. For instance, we offer anorexia, bulimia, anxiety, depression, and trauma treatment. Our staff uses several evidence-based therapies, including CBT and internal family systems. In addition, we provide holistic care such as:

  • Group sculpting
  • Guided imagery
  • Art therapy
  • Equine therapy
  • Yoga

Gaining control over emotions and behaviors is within reach. Dialectical behavioral therapy at Magnolia Creek can provide the guidance that you or a loved one needs. Learn more about our programs by calling 866-318-2329.