Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is an effective way to address many mental health issues. It is an evidence-based therapy that can positively improve the lives of clients of all different ages, genders, and ethnicities with various mental, emotional, and behavioral struggles.
Group therapy is another effective treatment for dealing with mental health conditions. Many types of therapies can be done in a group setting.
The History of DBT
DBT is a type of talk therapy that was developed by American psychologist Marsha Lineham in the 70s as a treatment for borderline personality disorder. Now its use has expanded to an effective treatment option for many mental health disorders.
DBT is a therapy best for people who experience emotions very intensely. The first word—dialectical—means combining two opposing ideas. DBT acknowledges the complexity of life and human emotions. It recognizes that feelings can contradict each other, and that’s okay.
From a DBT perspective, many issues with mental health are considered to be emotional dysregulation problems. DBT helps people recognize, acknowledge, and manage all of their emotions, regardless of what they may be.
A lot of people try to suppress or ignore intense or negative emotions. DBT helps people learn to accept those feelings. Once a person can acknowledge those emotions, then they can learn healthier ways of coping with them, instead of stuffing them down to later emerge through destructive behaviors.
Throughout the DBT process, a client will:
Gain control and manage behaviors
Learn to feel raw emotions—good and bad, the whole range
Look towards the future
Discover deeper meaning in life
DBT is a step by step process. Clients need to get a grasp on their behavioral responses to their emotions first. Only then can they work on discovering life’s deeper meaning. It requires skills training, practicing the skill, and time.
Why Group Therapy Works
There are a lot of benefits to group therapy, many of which you don’t get with individual therapy alone. Group therapy brings together people going through and dealing with the same or similar situations. When it comes to mental health, most people battle issues in silence. Group therapy acts as a support network and helps people realize they are not alone in whatever challenge they may be dealing with.
Typically, group therapy consists of a group of four to fifteen people led by a therapist who meet once each week. Many of the group members may also be partaking in individual talk therapy too.
Group therapy works because it creates an environment of trust that makes it easier to open up. The people in the group can act as a soundboard and help people find new perspectives.
Being in an environment where others have experienced the same struggles helps people express themselves with their own words. Talking to a group of people about your problems and how you are going to improve them helps hold you accountable. And to top it all off, it feels good to listen to others and be there for them as well.
DBT done in a group setting is still incredibly effective. While DBT can be done independently between the client and therapist, DBT group therapy is actually a recommended step for many people.
Usually, when DBT is done in a group, it is done in a skills learning group. A skills group is focused on learning and practicing healthier coping skills together. After you learn to accept and feel your intense and uncomfortable emotions, you are given tools and techniques for coping with these emotions.
It’s helpful to be in DBT skills groups in order to learn to implement those techniques together, while also being able to talk and learn from the experiences of other group members.
DBT Therapy at Inner Balance
If you have intense feelings and emotions you aren’t dealing with, they may be manifesting and interrupting your life in other ways. Inner Balance Counseling offers a variety of therapies, including DBT. Our team of experienced and caring therapists is here to help you on your therapeutic journey.
Facing and embracing your difficult emotions can help put you back in the driver’s seat of your life. With practice, your healthy coping techniques you learned in DBT will help you thrive in life.