Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) radically shifts how therapists understand and treat mental health issues.
Popular therapies like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT encourage clients to “think your way through your problems” placing the primary emphasis on thoughts and logic to solve our daily struggles. However, how can someone think their way out of trouble when their thoughts are spinning out of control or they may be lost in a tidal wave of emotion? Particularly with conditions like trauma, we may be fully triggered and lost in our minds before we even know what’s happened. DBT centrally recognizes how our daily experiences, thoughts, and emotions can be so intense that we can do nothing but simply try to survive them. So, what can we possibly do?
DBT is considered an evolution of CBT from what’s called “second wave behaviorism” (CBT) to “third wave behaviorism” (DBT). It is a tectonic shift in how behavioral therapy is conceptualized, structured, and implemented. Instead of thinking and logic, DBT focuses on emotional regulation systems, a toolbox of 80-100 interventions and skills, and a renewed focus on being present in what is actually happening in the moment, good or bad. Best of all, it centrally focuses on how to modulate and better control our internal experience through different skills and tools. Even when we are in a full blown crisis, there’s a whole toolkit ready to go to bring us back down to Earth before implementing more skills to bring our minds back under control.
One of DBT’s revolutionary shifts is in how it is structured in two parts that work together to drive change. Every DBT client participates in weekly individual therapy for personalized coaching and how to apply DBT principles in their life. Individual therapy with a consistent, compassionate therapist has been and always will be the foundation for effective mental health treatment. Individual therapists act as an advisor, a guide, and a coach, and they are a critical part of what makes therapy work. Clients are really able to dig deep and truly work on themselves when they have a strong therapeutic relationship with their individual therapist.
However, DBT clients also attend weekly “DBT skills class” where they are taught the principles of DBT, every skill and strategy in the program, and how to create a life worth living one step at a time. Dozens of research studies have examined this new approach to therapy, and they have found it to be incredibly successful. Many studies show that most clients who only attended a DBT skills class without any individual therapy still saw massive shifts in their ability to regulate their emotions and change their lives for the better.
Every clinician at GearingUp has completed advanced training in DBT totaling over 150 hours including 80 hours of formal training with Behavioral Tech, the inventor of DBT Marsha Linehan’s training organization. However, our DBT clinicians also spend months shadowing senior GearingUp clinicians and DBT providers to see how GearingUp really works with clients in DBT treatment. DBT clinicians also complete months of one-on-one supervision with Gearing Up’s senior DBT team to confirm their knowledge of DBT and how to work effectively with clients using the system.
How GearingUp Approaches DBT
DBT is a complex therapy system with many moving parts and subtleties in terms of what, when, and how skills are implemented and how to coach clients effectively.
It requires extensive knowledge and mastery of all parts of the system to truly be implemented correctly. DBT clinicians are regularly referencing ideas from the first few weeks of DBT skills class even at the end of the program since every single part of the program is important and effective.
In addition, our clinical team all work together to serve our community of clients in both individual therapy and DBT skills classes. Effective teamwork requires each one of them to fully understand the system and implement it fully both in one-on-one individual sessions and in the larger classes. Gearing Up is one of the few outpatient treatment clinics in the United States to have more than three to five formally trained DBT clinicians in one place, but our continued training program and dedication to ensuring mastery and continued education is unmatched.
Gearing Up has been treating clients using DBT therapy since 2013, and we’ve successfully worked with thousands of clients using DBT skills to change their lives. However, we have continued to evolve the system since it was initially developed in the early 1990’s by incorporating new research and advanced techniques, fresh insights from years of actual practice, and deeper explorations of the core elements of the DBT system. Our senior clinical team have also taken part in even more advanced trainings in DBT for how it can be used with new clinical populations or in more intensive treatment paradigms, how other clinicians around the world are using the system, and how it can play a central role in more integrative therapy approaches.
If you are ready to get started and take the first step, please contact us (hyperlink) today by calling our office, filling out a contact form, or through the chat window on this page. Our staff will follow up with you as soon as possible to schedule your first appointment.
If you would like to learn more, here are some links with more information on DBT and GearingUp: