What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

Man talking with therapistOne of the most significant advances in addiction treatment is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). This form of therapy transforms negative thinking patterns and destructive behaviors into positive outcomes. DBT has been shown to help people diagnosed with an eating disorder control their emotions, build self-management skills, reduce anxiety and stress, and control destructive eating behaviors.1

10 Things to Know About Dialectical Behavior Therapy

  1. Dialectical behavior therapy helps get to the root of addiction. DBT cuts to the heart of a person’s addiction issues. When an individual recalls and relives past events with the counselor, he is able to trace the roots of his addiction and make necessary changes that affect every aspect of this life.
  2. No two DBT treatments are alike. Because the core of DBT involves exploring the specific background of the individual, every DBT treatment is completely customized, based solely in the actual experiences of the patient.
  3. DBT is still a growing field. While there are not many drug rehab programs currently offering Dialectical Behavior Therapy, the number is growing. Addiction treatment programs are reporting high success rates for their patients who engage in DBT, and the word is spreading fast.
  4. Dialectical behavior therapy is based on Buddhist teachings. Zen Buddhist instruction to gain an awareness of one’s self is at the core of DBT. DBT counselors use this heightened sense of awareness to help the individual see how their actions affect others and vice versa.
  5. DBT focuses on the improvement of self-image. DBT treats conditions where the individual’s self-image is in need of restoration. By developing a more effective means of communicating with others, DBT helps the individual gain confidence in even stressful situations.
  6. Dialectical Behavior Therapy helps people with cutting issues. DBT helps the individuals with cutting and self-harm issues better understand their triggers and change the decision-making process that leads to self-harm.
  7. DBT helps people become more assertive. There is a great deal of “role playing” involved in DBT. Many of these situations help the individual learn how to say “NO” to those temptations and negative influences that have pushed them further into the cycle of addiction.
  8. DBT teaches tolerance. Another hallmark of DBT is training the individual to be tolerant of others, even in those situations where their viewpoints are different or perceived as a potential threat.
  9. DBT was developed to help people with borderline personality disorder. The first uses of DBT were in the field of borderline personality disorder (BPD), where patients found renewed confidence and assertiveness thanks to the therapy.
  10. DBT is more than just a “band-aid” on the problem. Perhaps the most important thing to know about Dialectical Behavior Therapy is that it is not a band-aid or temporary fix for drug addictionalcohol abuse or mental illnesses. Rather, DBT treats the root causes of the behavior and gives people the tools to succeed in almost any situation moving forward.

While DBT is not always used in treatment, this form of therapy has helped many in their recovery. If you are an addict, please read the following words of encouragement from Lara of our Heroes In Recovery series.

“Now, the things that matter are connection, love, service, and joy. My addiction led me to myself. I am so proud of the woman I have become. I am so proud of the life I lead. I would never have arrived at this moment, so awake to this life, without my addiction.” Lara, Heroes In Recovery

If you struggle with addiction today, please know you’re not alone. Approximately 40 million Americans age 12 and over meet the clinical criteria for addiction involving nicotine, alcohol, or other drugs. That’s more Americans than those with heart disease, diabetes, or cancer combined.2

We at Michael’s House are ready to help you start your new life. We are one of the country’s leading dialectical behavior therapy facilities. Individuals who come to Michael’s House for rehab are given a chance to take part in this incredible, results-oriented treatment. Please contact Michael’s House today at 760-548-4032 for more information.

Recovery Unscripted welcome Eboni Webb talking on Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

In this episode of Recovery Unscripted, Dr. Eboni Webb, psychologist, and DBT educator, shares the role that mindfulness plays in overall mental health and how therapists can help make DBT more accessible to everyone. Webb is an internationally renowned trainer in Dialectical Behavior Therapy.


1 Gleissner, Greta. “What Is DBT?” Psychology Today. 28 Sept. 2016. Web. 18 July 2017.

2 Sederer, Lloyd. “A Blind Eye to Addiction.” U.S. News & World Report. 01 June 2015. Web. 18 July 2017.