Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy in New York: An Effective Approach to Addiction Treatment

Do you find intense emotions and thoughts overwhelming? Have you been struggling to conquer addiction for a long time? If so, dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) can help you on both counts.

Here’s an overview of this empowering treatment method and how to obtain it. DBT will give you the tools to achieve a breakthrough.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Basics of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

DBT is a type of counseling that imparts skills for handling stressful emotions and situations. The goals of DBT are to:

  • identify and understand troubling thoughts and feelings
  • learn practical ways to work through them
  • replace harmful behaviors with beneficial ones

The term “dialectical” means integrating two opposing ideas. In addiction recovery, accepting reactive feelings and changing unhealthy habits can seem contradictory. Still, through DBT, you can do both simultaneously.

DBT has its roots in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). With each approach to addiction treatment, you replace limiting thoughts with freeing ones rooted in reality.

Yet with DBT, you focus on accepting what you’re experiencing at any given moment. Additionally, DBT entails more group therapy than CBT. Thus, you receive greater support from your peers.

How DBT Works to Combat Addiction

Qualified DBT counselors teach you ways to manage gripping emotions and trying situations. Additionally, the practices help to prevent “relapse triggers.” These are the things that tempt you to find refuge in addictive substances. Examples are:

  • upsetting people and events
  • parties where the hosts serve alcoholic drinks
  • contact with other users
  • objects that remind you of alcohol and drugs

Avoiding such triggers is one of the keys to staying sober.

With time, you become more adept at calming yourself when challenges arise. Meanwhile, your willpower increases, whereas the urges for drugs and alcohol lessen.

Skills You Acquire Through DBT

You’ll become fluent in the following coping strategies:

  • mindfulness
  • interpersonal effectiveness
  • emotional regulation
  • distress tolerance

Let’s explore the meanings of these DBT terms and their corresponding techniques.


Addicted persons tend to get stuck in past regrets and worries about the future. So, a foundational skill is grounding yourself in the present moment.

Next, you learn how to view your thoughts and feelings objectively. You do this by witnessing rather than dwelling on them. In other words, you act like a spectator. Moreover, you stop judging yourself or blaming others for your substance use.

Interpersonal Effectiveness

Addiction causes confusion and conflicts in relationships due to poor communication. Meanwhile, low self-worth produces a sense of inferiority.

Thus, the second skill set is learning how to express yourself clearly, assertively, and respectfully. In doing so, you can resolve disagreements with others, building trust. Gradually, your relationships can become more harmonious.

Furthermore, you’ll end associations with people who affect you negatively.

Emotional Regulation

With this DBT technique, you exert control over oppressive feelings, such as fear, anger, and shame. After naming the intense emotion, you trace its source. This pause creates space to collect yourself and gauge how best to respond.

Distress Tolerance

The fourth practice applies to emotions that seem unbearable. Examples are panic, rage, and self-hatred. In the past, you numbed overwhelming feelings with drugs or alcohol. Now, you’ll apply healthy methods of weakening their power.

Co-Occurring Disorders Helped by DBT

An American psychologist developed DBT roughly 50 years ago. Initially, therapists used it to help suicidal people and those with self-harming habits.

Since then, DBT has proved beneficial for disorders that often accompany addiction. Among them are:

  • anorexia and bulimia
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • phobias
  • depression
  • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • panic disorder
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

Therapeutic care for addiction and a co-occurring disorder is called dual-diagnosis treatment.

Key Components of DBT

DBT includes five modes of treatment and support:

  • skills training
  • individual therapy
  • group therapy
  • telephone coaching
  • team consultations for therapists

Skills Training

In a group setting, you’ll learn and practice the skill sets described above. Typically, classes occur once weekly, each one lasting two hours.

Skills training groups are small, usually comprising four to 10 participants. You’ll find learning with others in recovery to be motivating and supportive.

Individual Therapy

Once a week, you’ll meet with a DBT therapist for about an hour. You’ll discuss what prompts you to use addictive drugs or alcohol. Additionally, you’ll recount the coping techniques you employed the week before. Then, your therapist will give you helpful feedback.

Group Therapy

With this DBT component, you’ll share your struggles and victories with those in addiction recovery like yourself. In turn, you’ll develop meaningful friendships.

Group exercises may include role-playing, where you enact challenging scenarios with another person. Role-playing gives you a forum for exploring the best ways to manage problems.

Telephone Coaching

Between therapy sessions, you can call your counselor during an especially tough situation. Then, you’ll receive specific guidance for applying your coping skills to the difficulty.

DBT Consultation Team

All the DBT therapists in a rehab center gather once weekly, sharing ways to make treatments more effective. By this, team consultations foster breakthroughs in clients with stalled progress.

Value of Completing DBT Homework

Throughout treatment, you’ll receive practices to do between sessions.

Examples are keeping a diary card where you record the unpleasant feelings that arise each day. Additionally, your therapist may ask you to rate the strength of those emotions. Then, you specify the skills by which you managed them.

Keeping a diary is a valuable tool for tracking your feelings, reactions, and potential relapse triggers.

Then, during individual therapy, your counselor helps you work on particular issues. With time, you’ll feel more stable. Then, you can deal with challenges head-on versus trying to escape them. In turn, you gain victory over addiction and lifelong sobriety.

So, be diligent with completing homework assignments. They’re essential for your progress!

What to Consider when Choosing a DBT Therapist in New York

Rehab centers offering DBT vary in several ways, including the following:

  • the qualifications of their counselors
  • how they incorporate DBT in their treatment plans
  • their professional ways of relating to clients

When considering a particular counselor, here are important attributes to evaluate.


A DBT therapist must have a license to practice, specialized training in DBT, and clinical experience in applying it. Highly qualified DBT professionals are also certified. This credential means the therapist has received advanced education and additional clinical practice.

You’ll recognize a certified DBT therapist by the letters “CDBT” after their name. So, this is one clue to an exemplary addiction recovery professional.

Adherence to Established DBT Standards

Some counselors choose not to follow the complete DBT format. Instead, they’re selective, utilizing certain DBT components but omitting others. Yet, all the modes are interrelated, accounting for DBT’s high success rate.

Thus, you want a therapist who follows the entire DBT treatment protocol.

Potential for Rapport

Another factor is whether you’re comfortable with the rehab counselor. If you feel at ease with a therapist, you’re more likely to be transparent, communicating openly. Honesty is crucial for successful therapy. Plus, truthfulness is vital for breaking free from addiction.

Unique Advantages of DBT for You

DBT emphasizes accepting your unpleasant thoughts and emotions. Thus, you don’t see them as enemies to avoid or fight against, relieving you of enormous pressure.

Secondly, DBT therapists maintain a balance between acceptance and change techniques. This treatment strategy facilitates behavioral improvement and addiction recovery.

Meanwhile, you discover why you turn to drugs and alcohol for comfort or distraction. A DBT therapist guides you in this process of gaining insight. Then, you acquire specific methods of:

  • grounding yourself in the present moment
  • observing supercharged emotions
  • diffusing such feelings
  • communicating clearly and appropriately with others

Hence, through DBT, you become adept at emotional regulation.

Furthermore, from a DBT perspective, relapses aren’t failures. Rather, setbacks reveal problems needing more therapeutic work.

Even so, a DBT therapist assumes you’re doing the best you can. By agreeing with them, you can stop being harsh with yourself, moving forward.

Finding a New York Rehab Center Offering DBT

Every1 Center is a time-saving resource for locating reputable addiction rehab centers. Many facilities in Nassau and Suffolk Counties include DBT in their clients’ treatment plans. We can guide you to programs with superb rehab success rates.

One measure of success is the percentage of clients who stay sober after completing a rehab program. DBT has an outstanding track record for promoting mental and emotional stability and lifelong sobriety.

Let us be your shortcut to starting addiction treatment. We specialize in referring people to the leading rehab centers in New York. Call us today; we’re eager to help you!

Dialectical behavioral therapy is not directly offered by Every1 Center. However, we do recognize that this type of addiction treatment is often necessary and vital to one’s long-term recovery from substance abuse. If you or a loved one require any services that we do not offer, we would be glad to refer you to one of our trusted affiliate providers.





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