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Dialectical Behavior Therapy Explained

selenagomez264As Selena Gomez seeks treatment for anxiety and depression, she is reportedly once again turning to dialectical behavior therapy.

The singer is now undergoing DBT, a type of psychological care she has praised before.

“DBT has completely changed my life,” Gomez said in the interview. “I wish more people would talk about therapy.”

What is DBT?

Dialectical behavior therapy is heavily based on cognitive behavioral therapy, or talk therapy.

It promotes both acceptance and change in a patient, which seems contradictory, thus the reference in its name to “dialectical,” defined as the integration of opposites.

DBT was developed in the 1980s by Marsha Linehan, a psychology professor at the University of Washington. She originally designed the approach to treat suicidal behaviors, but it has since expanded to treating borderline personality disorder and other “severe and complex mental disorders,” Linehan’s biography noted. She herself struggled with mental illness and vowed to help herself and others.

How does DBT work?

Patients who undergo DBT receive both one-on-one and group therapy. The goal is for them to “get out of hell” and build “a life worth living,” which can mean different things to different people, Linehan said.

She recognized it wasn’t enough for patients to be listened to and understood in therapy — they also had to receive instruction on how to change. So the program teaches patients various life coping skills, including:

  • how to stay present in the moment
  • how to tolerate mental pain in difficult situations
  • how to ask for what they want
  • how to change the emotions they want to change — this may be the most critical part of the entire treatment, Linehan said.

Studies show DBT can be “effective at producing significant and long-lasting improvement for people experiencing a mental illness,” National Alliance on Mental Illness noted.

The approach has also shown promise in treating people with substance abuse. You can find a certified program or therapist through the DBT-Linehan Board of Certification.

Excerpted from “What is dialectical behavior therapy? Selena Gomez’s treatment explained” on the Today show website. Read the full story.

Source: Today | What is dialectical behavior therapy? Selena Gomez’s treatment explained, https://www.today.com/health/what-dbt-dialectical-behavior-therapy-selena-gomez-treatment-t139722 | © 2018 NBC Universalh6>

A screening can help you determine if you or someone you care about should contact a mental health professional. Clinical Services Coordinators can arrange a free 30 minute Care Consultation so you can explore options with an expert. Call or email our Clinical Services Coordinators at 650.688.3625 or careteam@chconline.org to set up an initial Consultation appointment.

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