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Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, also known as DBT, is most often used for treating personality disorders and interpersonal conflicts. DBT strives to provide the client with the tools and skills to change behavioral, emotional, and thinking patterns associated with problems in living, specifically, those causing misery and distress.

While Willow does not offer a comprehensive DBT program, we offer DBT-informed interventions for our clients when they are called for. These interventions are related to the core components of DBT including: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotional regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.

Oftentimes with anxiety, our thoughts are about the future; as opposed to that with depression our thoughts may focus on the past and cause rumination.

Mindfulness involves bringing your attention to something on purpose in a nonjudgemental way. It is a skill that helps one live in the present moment and accept what is happening in the here and now which can help calibrate expectations.

Distress tolerance skills involve learning to bear pain skillfully. Pain is a part of life. On the other hand, suffering is a combination of pain and denial or unwillingness to accept the reality. The goal of distress tolerance skills is to learn to accept, find meaning for, and tolerate pain and distress. Using these skills will help increase the window of tolerance. We use these skills when feelings are surging.

Emotion regulation refers to being able to regulate one’s emotions and feelings in order to not allow them to get to a point where they interfere with our thoughts and behaviors. We use these skills to modulate our emotions when they are not surging but before the surge happens.

Interpersonal effectiveness focuses on maintaining self-respect while pursuing healthy relationships. Working on assertive communication and boundary setting are primary targets of interpersonal effectiveness.

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