Dialectical Behavior Therapy in Orange County

Are you struggling with intense emotions, impulsive actions, or challenging relationships? Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is here to assist you. DBT, a counseling approach, is dedicated to providing you with practical skills to navigate tough emotions and enhance relationships.

Participating in our DBT program in Orange County offers an opportunity to acquire strategies for crafting a more fulfilling life. By engaging in this program, you can diminish feelings of sadness, enhance relationships, and improve your overall well-being. Seize this opportunity to bring about a positive transformation in your life. Let’s embark on the journey to a brighter future together!

dbt therapy in Orange County
dbt therapy in Orange County

What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a therapeutic approach designed to help individuals manage and regulate intense emotions, improve interpersonal relationships, and develop coping mechanisms for challenging situations. Originally developed by psychologist Dr. Marsha M. Linehan, DBT combines the principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy with elements of acceptance and mindfulness.

DBT is particularly effective for individuals struggling with conditions such as borderline personality disorder, but it has also proven beneficial for a range of mental health issues. It typically involves weekly individual and group therapy sessions over 6–12 months. The group sessions focus on teaching the DBT skills, while individual sessions help reinforce the skills and address any other issues. Homework includes practicing the skills in daily life and keeping a diary card to track emotions and behaviors.

What Conditions Does DBT Treat?

DBT in Orange County treats a variety of mental health conditions, especially those involving emotional dysregulation, such as:

If you struggle with unstable moods, relationships, self-image, and impulsive behaviors, you may have BPD. DBT teaches skills to better regulate emotions and reduce unhealthy impulsiveness. Studies show that DBT can significantly reduce symptoms like suicidal thoughts and hospitalizations and improve the quality of life for those with BPD.

Addictions and substance abuse often involve difficulty controlling impulses and managing distressing emotions. DBT provides coping strategies to avoid relapse and maintain sobriety. Skills like urge surfing, distraction, and coping ahead can help ride out cravings and stay committed to recovery.

For some, depression and anxiety are linked to difficulty tolerating distress and a lack of coping skills. DBT teaches mindfulness, distress tolerance, and emotion regulation skills to better manage symptoms. Research shows that DBT can be as effective as medications for some anxiety disorders and depression disorders.

DBT has been adapted to treat anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorders. It focuses on skills to improve body image, manage difficult emotions related to eating, and break the cycle of unhealthy behaviors. DBT helps reduce eating disorder symptoms and the risk of relapse.

PTSD involves extreme anxiety, nightmares, flashbacks, and the avoidance of reminders of the trauma. DBT skills training in mindfulness, distress tolerance, and emotion regulation can help gain awareness and control over trauma-related thoughts and feelings. Research supports

DBT as an effective treatment for PTSD.

DBT effectively addresses self-harming and suicidal tendencies by teaching alternative coping mechanisms and enhancing emotional regulation. This therapeutic approach emphasizes mindfulness, distress tolerance, and personalized strategies, empowering individuals to manage challenging emotions and navigate life more resiliently.

dbt therapy in Orange County

What are the Four Major Concepts of DBT?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) revolves around four major concepts known as “dialectical dilemmas.” These four concepts collectively provide a framework for individuals undergoing DBT to navigate the complexities of their emotions, relationships, and personal growth. With practice, these skills can help reduce suffering and build a life worth living.

Mindfulness means focusing your awareness on the present moment while calmly acknowledging your feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. Some key mindfulness skills taught in DBT include:

  • Observing: Noticing what is happening around you without judgment. Paying attention to sights, sounds, smells, sensations, and your own thoughts and feelings.
  • Describing: Putting words to your observations without judgment or interpretation. For example, saying “The sun is shining” rather than “It’s a nice day.”
  • Participating: Fully engaging in the activity you’re doing. Focus your attention on the task at hand rather than letting your mind wander.

Distress tolerance refers to the ability to cope with painful emotions or stressful situations without making them worse. DBT teaches specific skills to help increase your distress tolerance, such as:

  • Self-soothing: Doing things to calm and comfort yourself, like taking a warm bath, listening to soothing music, etc.
  • Improve the moment: Temporarily doing something to take your mind off the distressing situation, like going for a walk, doing exercise, calling a friend, etc.
  • ACCEPTS: Using mindfulness and distraction techniques: (A)ctivities, (C)ontributions, (C)omparisons, (E)motions, (P)ushing away, (T)houghts, and (S)ensations.

Emotion regulation means gaining awareness and acceptance of your emotions, reducing emotional vulnerability, and decreasing emotional suffering. Key skills include:

  • Reducing vulnerability to emotions: Doing things to avoid intensifying your emotions, like avoiding mood-altering drugs, lack of sleep, etc.
  • Increasing positive emotions: Engaging in activities that you find meaningful, joyful, or peaceful. Spending time with people you care about. Practicing self-care.
  • Decreasing negative emotions: Using relaxation techniques, challenging negative thoughts, distraction, and opposite action.

Interpersonal effectiveness refers to building healthy relationships through assertive communication and boundary-setting. Skills include:

  • Saying no: Expressing your limits firmly and respectfully.
  • Making requests: Asking for what you need in a clear and polite manner.
  • Expressing positive and negative feelings: Sharing how you genuinely feel with others in a constructive way.

What are the Steps in DBT?

DBT in Orange County is a potent mental health approach that equips individuals with tools to handle intense emotions and construct a meaningful life. Central to DBT are two crucial steps: individual counseling and weekly group sessions.

Individual Counseling

The journey through DBT often begins with individual counseling sessions. This one-on-one interaction between the therapist and the individual provides a personalized and focused space to delve into the unique challenges and experiences faced by the client. During these sessions, individuals work collaboratively with their therapists to identify specific behaviors, thoughts, and emotions that contribute to their distress.

  • Target Setting: Establishing realistic and achievable goals empowers individuals to make steady emotional progress.
  • Skill Building: Emphasis on acquiring skills in emotional regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance, and mindfulness.
  • Problem-Solving: Collaborative problem-solving addresses challenges, fostering a proactive approach to difficulties.

Weekly Group Sessions

Complementing individual counseling, weekly DBT group sessions foster a sense of community and shared experience. These sessions typically consist of a small group of individuals who come together under the guidance of a trained dialectical behavior therapist.

  • Validation and Support: Shared experiences within the group create a sense of belonging and reduce feelings of isolation.
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness Practice: Role-playing scenarios and feedback enhance interpersonal skills in a safe environment.
  • Generalization of Skills: Group settings facilitate the application of learned coping mechanisms to real-life situations.

Receive DBT in Orange County at Breakwater Behavioral Health

Take charge of your mental well-being and embark on a transformative journey with dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) at Breakwater Behavioral Health in Orange County. Our dedicated team of experienced professionals is committed to guiding you through this evidence-based therapy, empowering you to develop essential skills for emotional regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, and distress tolerance. Your brighter future awaits, and we’re here to support you every step of the way. Contact us today!

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