Just what is DBT Therapy?
Dialectic Behavioral Therapy, or DBT, is a cognitive-behavioral treatment developed in the 1980s by Marsha Linehan, Ph.D. originally developed to treat people who are suicidal or with borderline personality disorder. Today DBT is evidence-based to be effective for the treatment of anxiety, depression, eating disorders, bi-polar disorder, self-destructive or impulsive behaviors, and substance abuse.
Those who may benefit from DBT often experience extremely intense, negative, and uncontrollable emotions and impulsive decision making. Individuals often experience these extreme emotions when interacting with others, for example, friends, family, or romantic partners, causing a great deal of conflict in their relationships.
The theory behind the approach is that some people are prone to react in a more intense manner toward emotional situations. DBT suggests that some people’s reactions to situations can increase far more quickly than the average person’s, attain a higher level of emotional stimulation, and take a significantly longer to return to baseline. These people see the world in black-and-white, and seem to always be jumping from one crisis to another. Because few people understand such reactions — they often feel alone and consistently invalidated — they don’t have any strategies for coping with intense emotions. DBT is a method for teaching coping skills that help in the moment.
Today, more people are getting behind the importance of mental health. In fact, many celebrities have expressed their own experiences with therapy and prioritizing mental wellness, making it less of a taboo topic from which others can draw inspiration.
In a recent interview with Teen Vogue, singer and actress Selena Gomez opened up about her feelings about therapy, praising DBT and how it has helped her change her life for the better. “I have this dream of mine that’s beyond all of this where I think that personally, it should be required in schools to be taught dialectical behavior therapy,” Selena said.
During Oprah’s 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus tour, singer and actress Lady Gaga sat down with Oprah to discuss her mental health in an emotionally candid interview. Gaga opens up about how DBT is a part of her mental health regimen. In addition to transcendental meditation, daily exercise, and “radical acceptance”, Gaga says that “medicine, therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), cognitive therapy,” are tools of choice to help her cope with some of life’s challenges.
Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams shared on the Happy Place podcast that fame has been detrimental to her mental health. She says that she once used to seek negative online criticism so that she could “sit in a hole of sadness.” “I think there was a period of time where I was very sad, and then I came out of that, and now it’s just really terrifying that you’re ever going to slip back into it.” Maisie then offers a more optimistic insight, “As soon as you start digging, you start asking yourself bigger questions than ‘Why do I hate myself?’ It’s more like, ‘Why do you make yourself feel this way?’ The answers to all of these questions really are within you.”
Mindful Healing LLC offer Dialectical Behavior Therapy for teens. Our Coping Skills Group helps teens with overwhelming emotions develop skills to live the life they love.