Therapies: Dialectic Behaviour Therapy

DBT (Dialectal Behaviour Therapy) is a comprehensive therapeutic framework that includes not only skills coaching, but also individual therapy session. The DBT framework designed by Marsha M. Linehan to help Children and Adolescents who struggle to control their emotions and behaviours. Emotional and behavioural dysregulation often contribute to a young person’s difficulties in establishing a stable sense of self and forming and fulfilling a stable relationship with peers and family members. Young people who often come from chaotic or traumatic backgrounds can, at times struggle to cope with how this can affect them in the here and now and their future selves. Working under the 5 modules of DBT (Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Walking the Middle Path, Emotion Regulation, and Interpersonal Effectiveness.) the therapists and staff team can coach all our young people in the skills that there are needed to achieve positive outcomes for present day and future goals and aspirations.  

Mindfulness – Mindfulness skills help teach the young people in our care the ability to increase non-judgemental awareness of experiences and to improve attentional control. By being coached and educated on how to participate fully in the present moment, or here and now, our young people are better able to reduce their own suffering and increase their own capacity for pleasure. These Mindfulness skills form the core of the entire skills set, as individuals need these skills to be able to make use of the other skills within the modules of DBT. By becoming aware of emotional states, what could be driving these states and urges, one develops the capacity to mindfully select a skilful response, rather than react in an impulsive way. There are many Mindfulness exercises that the young people can be coached on that can be completed in a group setting or as individuals. 

Distress Tolerance – Distress Tolerance skills help our young people tolerate difficult situations and emotional pain when the problems cannot be solved straight away. These skills and strategies set out to achieve a young person bring able to survive the moment of the distressing moment or pain without making it worse through impulsive actions and behaviours. It is important to note that these skills provide short-term solutions that do not solve the core of the problem causing the distress and do not necessarily make the young person feel better. Instead, the help young people manage the pain skilfully by not engaging in problem behaviours such as self-harm, disordered eating, or absconding. 

Walking the Middle Path – This skills approach has been specifically designed for teenagers and families. This module focuses on the fact that there is more than one way to solve a problem, that two opposites or viewpoints can both be true, and to gain a better understanding or perspective on a narrative or problem. The perspective allows young people and families to work on changing painful or difficult thoughts, feelings, or circumstances while at the same time accepting themselves, others, and circumstances as they are in the moment. 

Emotional Regulation – These skills involve being able to label and understand the emotion or feeling that the young person is having and gaining a deeper understanding that there may be other emotions and feelings that are driving the presenting emotion that has been labelled. Once these emotions have been labelled the skills should help reduce vulnerability to emotion mind and help transition into wise mind, creating more positive emotions, prevent negative emotions, and lowering the intensity of negative emotions that have already fired up. 

Interpersonal Effectiveness – This module focuses on the building of and maintaining positive relationships. The skills set highlights obtaining three imperative interpersonal goals: 1 – building positive relationships and reducing conflict escalation, 2 – effectively asking for something you want or saying no to something whilst maintaining respect within the relationship and 3 – maintaining self-respect.