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Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) in Washington State

What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

Dialectical behavior therapy provides a new approach to treating substance abuse and mental health issues. Free by the Sea is one of the few treatment centers in the country with a DBT program that integrates mental health with substance abuse treatments. Located in the State of Washington, Free by the Sea uses dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) to treat alcohol addiction, drug addiction, and other mental health issues. 

Our dialectical behavior therapy is ideal for the person who wants to address the following: 

  • Daily management of emotions
  • People who have difficulty achieving success using traditional types of therapy
  • Traumatic experiences such as grief, accidents, or abuse
  • Addiction combined with mental health issues
  • Issues of low self-worth, self-abuse, or self-harm
  • Adults who are struggling to deal with any traumatic experiences that occurred during childhood. Some examples of childhood trauma include the addiction of a parent, abuse, or loss.
  • People suffering from PTSD, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, and borderline personality disorder

How Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy Different?

Dr. Marsha Linehan, a prominent psychologist at the University of Washington, developed DBT after years of extensive research. Dr. Linehan’s specialty is in difficult-to-treat patients, and she developed DBT when she discovered that traditional therapeutic techniques were not effective treatments for her patients.

Many differences exist between the approaches used in traditional therapy and DBT. Dialectical behavior therapy helps patients manage complex emotions without needing to answer a host of questions. The approach involves individual and group therapy sessions in an attempt to ease people into the treatment process. Dialectical behavior therapy gives patients the tools they need for everyday living, helping them manage their lives and continue overcoming addiction.

DBT is also different from traditional cognitive behavior therapy in the following ways:

  • DBT teaches patients how to identify and address their emotions.
  • It helps patients to learn to accept the events that happen in their lives.
  • This therapy helps people to manage their day-to-day struggles and the effects of trauma on their lives.
  • DBT does not attempt to change the patient into another person. This form of therapy accepts people for who they are as a person.
  • Patients who use this form of therapy learn how to relate to other people and understand themselves.

What Are the Goals of Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

Dialectical behavior therapy aims to help people achieve inner peace by encouraging people to come to terms with their emotions and how they interact with the world. DBT teaches life skills that are based on Buddhist principles and traditional psychotherapy techniques. This type of therapy helps patients in the following four areas:

Mindfulness: Patients learn to have an appreciation for their current reality through the acceptance of people and situations.

Emotional Regulation: Patients learn how to deal with their mood changes and how to make better decisions.

Interpersonal Effectiveness: Patients learn to establish healthy boundaries when dealing with difficult situations and people.

Distress Tolerance: Patients are taught to deal with traumatic situations and upheavals in their lives and learn how to manage the feelings that cause discomfort.

A More Detailed Look at Who Benefits From Treatment Programs that Involve DBT

Although dialectical behavior therapy has plenty of benefits, it is important to identify who can best take advantage of these benefits. After all, some treatment programs are best suited for some individuals and not for others. This is due to the fact that everyone is different. Each person who seeks to go through treatment for addiction has specific needs that their program should address. So, it is helpful to identify who can truly benefit from a treatment program that involves DBT.

As it stands, this therapeutic approach has proven to be helpful in many different instances, serving people from varying backgrounds and walks of life. Some of the individuals who may benefit from dialectical behavior therapy for addiction treatment include:

  • Those who have substance use disorders.
  • Individuals who suffer from anxiety.
  • Those who suffer from depression.
  • People who experience suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
  • Individuals who need help with anger management.
  • Those who engage in self-harm or even think to do so. 
  • People who have borderline personality disorder.
  • Individuals who have post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Individuals suffering from eating disorders.
  • Those who suffer from emotional or behavioral disturbances.

As mentioned before, DBT is also helpful for those who may have trouble with interpersonal interactions. Sometimes, those who suffer from addiction have difficulty relating to others. This is often due to the isolating qualities of addiction itself; many people feel alone or alienated because of their struggle with alcoholism or drug abuse.

Dialectical behavior therapy can also help people who have low self-esteem. Individuals who have a low sense of self-worth often engage in harmful behaviors and thought patterns. It can be hard for these individuals to develop and carry out healthy cognitive and behavioral processes. So, DBT works to improve unhealthy patterns of thought, helping individuals to think in a healthier, more empowering way. 

Using Therapy to Treat Addiction

Many times, people’s ideas concerning therapy include a patient and a therapist, simply discussing and working through issues related to depression and other mental health disorders. Although this form of therapy is certainly helpful, it’s important to understand that therapy is much more than the mental picture many people have.

Therapy can truly help individuals who are suffering from mental and behavioral health disorders. As it relates to our services here at Free by the Sea, therapy is also extremely beneficial to those suffering from addiction. In fact, therapy is one of the most important components of the addiction treatment process.

At Free by the Sea, we offer therapy as a part of our treatment programs because we believe in the value of this approach. Therapy works to address the parts of people’s lives that may be hard to reach otherwise. Once a person completes drug and alcohol detoxification, it is best to also acknowledge and treat the emotional and mental effects of addiction. This is what makes therapy so important.

Often, professionals find that individuals who struggle with addiction have underlying causes in their lives. These could include co-occurring mental health disorders, stress, fear, grief, or childhood experiences such as abuse or the loss of a loved one.

If an individual is working to overcome addiction, treatment should address these underlying causes and contributing factors. Therapy helps addiction treatment specialists to do just that. Through therapeutic approaches such as dialectical behavior therapy, professionals can help individuals to discover the harmful effects of addiction, the contributing factors that led to substance abuse, and healthy ways to address these issues and overcome addiction for good!

DBT in Residential Treatment for Adults Suffering from Addiction

When it comes to treating adults who struggle with substance dependence, professionals and specialists work to identify the specific needs of those patients. DBT in residential treatment for adults who are struggling with addiction can be extremely beneficial. 

Dialectical behavior therapy strives to bring a practical, effective, and comprehensive component to treatment. Attempting to treat addiction with only the help of a detox program and a 30-day stay in a rehab facility will likely prove to be ineffective. Individuals who need residential treatment for addiction need help from therapy approaches that work to meet their recovery needs. 

While living at a rehab center for addiction, those in recovery should be able to engage in different types of therapy. This will enable them to develop the skills they need in order to overcome addiction and remain free from it long after treatment is over. It will also provide opportunities for people to establish camaraderie with others who are on the same journey to recovery. Being able to support and receive support from like-minded individuals can help recovering individuals tremendously.

While in residential treatment for adults who are dealing with addiction, individuals can focus on recovery without interruption. Those who are working through recovery can find the strength, motivation, and support they need in order to stay on the right path.

DBT in Outpatient Treatment for Adults Struggling with Substance Use

Once residential treatment is over, individuals can continue their journey to recovery through an intensive outpatient program. No doubt, those who have completed an inpatient rehab program will face new challenges as they work to adjust to life outside of their treatment facility. This is why outpatient treatment is so helpful during this phase of the journey; it works as a means of transition.

While in an outpatient program, those who are working to overcome addiction can continue to develop relapse prevention skills. Therapy can help to address the challenges individuals may face throughout recovery. It can also help to reinforce the skills individuals already learned throughout inpatient rehab. Finally, therapy helps to equip individuals with the motivation, skills, and mindset that will be necessary once the entire treatment process is over.

Contact Free by the Sea Today!

If you’re ready to end addiction in your life, there is no need to wait any longer. Here at Free by the Sea, we are ready to help you take the next step in your life. You do not have to be bound by substance dependence anymore. Instead, you can begin working toward a healthy and happy life!

We want to be a part of that process. So, if you are currently dealing with the effects of an alcohol or drug use disorder, please know that we are here to help you! Just contact us today by giving us a call. Allow our compassionate and understanding team to walk alongside you as you make progress on the road to recovery from addiction!

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