Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Individual Therapy in Memphis

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Addiction treatment programs can involve various different types of addiction therapy. This is because different types of addiction therapy can help patients alter their addictive behaviors in different ways. One well-known and effective type of addiction therapy is dialectical behavior therapy.

What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a form of addiction therapy that teaches rehab patients to accept their negative thoughts and emotions. By accepting their negative thoughts and emotions, individuals in addiction treatment can halt the negative behaviors that often come as a result of these negative thoughts and emotions and instead change them into positive behaviors.

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Core Components of Dialectical Behavior Therapy

There are four main components of dialectical behavior therapy. These four components include skills training, individual therapy, phone coaching, and team consultation.

Skills Training

During the skills training component of dialectical behavior therapy, addiction treatment patients are taught communication and coping skills. Rehab patients use these skills to help them handle their triggers so that they don’t start abusing substances to cope.

Dialectical behavior therapy usually contains skills training courses. These skills training courses usually occur for around two hours, once per week, over the course of 24 weeks.

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy is a form of therapy that occurs one-on-one between a patient and a therapist. When addiction treatment patients attend DBT individual therapy, they’ll discover why they choose to abuse substances. They’ll also discover what their triggers are, and what coping mechanisms that best suit them.

Recovering individuals will then learn how to apply the coping skills that they were taught in skills training in their real lives. Doing so will help people to best handle their triggers for addiction.

Phone Coaching

Phone coaching is when addiction treatment patients communicate with their therapists over the phone during DBT individual therapy sessions. Essentially, phone coaching is a form of telehealth therapy.

Many addiction treatment patients use phone coaching whenever they’re going through a stressful situation or struggling to handle their triggers. Thus, at this time, rehab patients need immediate consultation from their therapists. Some addiction treatment patients even use phone coaching whenever they aren’t available to attend their therapy sessions in person.

Team Consultation

A DBT consultation team is a team of dialectical behavior therapy providers that treat addiction treatment patients. DBT providers within a consultation team provide support to one another. That way they can perform their duties to the best of their abilities.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills

There are four different types of coping skills that dialectical behavior therapy works on improving: emotion regulation, mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, and distress tolerance.

Emotion Regulation

The term “emotion regulation” refers to the ability to accept and control one’s negative emotions. The skill of emotion regulation is the primary aspect of dialectical behavior therapy. Thus, it’s vital that individuals attending dialectical behavior therapy do their best to master this skill.

To master emotion regulation during DBT for substance abuse, individuals need to learn how to productively work through their negative thoughts and emotions. That way these negative thoughts and emotions don’t turn into negative behaviors such as abusing substances. Examples of productive ways to manage one’s negative thoughts emotions include coping activities such as journaling, exercising, or playing music.


Mindfulness skills training helps teach rehab patients how to mentally stay in the present moment. As a result, rehab patients can avoid thinking about negative thoughts that could trigger the desire to abuse substances. By practicing the skill of mindfulness, addiction treatment patients will be able to focus and remain calm in the face of stress or addiction triggers.

Interpersonal Effectiveness

Interpersonal effectiveness is the skill of effectively communicating and building bonds with other people. This skill is important for individuals in addiction therapy to practice because most people that suffer from addiction strain their relationships with family and friends. Therefore, when receiving dialectical behavior therapy for substance abuse, it’s important for individuals to take the communication skills that they’ve learned to rebuild these relationships.

Distress Tolerance

Distress tolerance is the skill of handling stressful situations. Learning how to manage stress is very important for individuals in addiction recovery. This is because individuals in addiction recovery that don’t learn how to manage their stress will likely end up relapsing and turning to substance abuse to cope.

Benefits of Dialectical Behavior Therapy

There are many benefits to attending dialectical behavior therapy for substance abuse. For one, it increases the chance the addiction treatment patients will achieve recovery.

Dialectical behavior therapy also helps addiction treatment patients face their negative thoughts and emotions head-on by accepting them. In doing so, addiction treatment patients don’t have to fear what will happen when these negative thoughts and emotions that trigger addiction arise. Instead, DBT will help addiction treatment patients know how to handle their negative thoughts and emotions in a manner that ultimately changes them so that the behaviors that result from them end up positive rather than negative.

This therapy approach is also beneficial because it helps addiction treatment patients reduce their cravings and urges for alcohol and drugs, alleviate physical discomfort that comes with substance withdrawals, and establish communities and environments that reinforce positive behaviors.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Substance Abuse

DBT for substance abuse and addiction is effective in inpatient and outpatient forms. Individuals can even receive dialectical behavior therapy when treating dual diagnosis treatment programs.

On top of that, dialectical behavior therapy is effective when it’s combined with other forms of motivational therapies. For example, DBT works well with cognitive behavior therapy, motivational enhancement therapy, contingency management therapy, and community reinforcement therapy.

Receive Dialectical Behavior Therapy At Grace Land Recovery

At Grace Land Recovery, we recognize the value of using different forms of addiction therapy to treat substance abuse and addiction. That’s why we incorporate therapies like dialectical behavior therapy into our addiction treatment programs.

Grace Land Recovery is a dual diagnosis treatment center that’s located in the Memphis, Tennessee area. As a dual diagnosis treatment center, we aim to get to the root of people’s addiction treatment issues and heal it.

For many people, the root cause of their substance use is poor mental health. Therefore, through dual diagnosis treatment services, addiction treatment patients can finally overcome the cause of their addictions along with their addictions themselves. Our dual diagnosis treatment methods also help treat the “whole” patient, mind, body, and soul. Therefore, our patients can enter back into the real world after treatment fully revitalized.

To learn more about Grace Land Recovery and the various addiction treatment programs that we offer, please contact us today. We would love to help you on your journey to achieving sobriety.

Goals of Dialectical Behavior Therapy

There are five main goals that therapists try to meet during DBT individual therapy. These five goals include enhancing the patients’ capabilities, generalizing the patients’ capabilities, improving the patients’ motivations while also reducing their dysfunctional behaviors, structuring the patients’ environment, and enhancing and maintaining the capabilities and motivations of therapists.

Enhancing the Patients’ Capabilities

All DBT therapists desire to enhance the capabilities of their patients. That way their patients can effectively use their coping skills and abstain from substance abuse while in recovery. To enhance the capabilities of addiction treatment patients, DBT therapists give their patients homework. Therapists may even suggest that their patients attend group therapy if they think that it will enhance an individual’s capabilities.

Generalizing the Patients’ Capabilities

When DBT therapists try to generalize their patients’ capabilities, they try to maximize the number of coping skills that their patients master. They do this by making sure that their patients attend individual therapy for DBT regularly.

DBT therapists will also go out of their way to assign their patients with regular homework assignments. These homework assignments will help addiction treatment patients practice using their coping skills. This enables patients to master their use of their coping skills.

Improving the Patients’ Motivations and Reducing the Patients’ Dysfunctional Behaviors

By improving the motivations of DBT patients, therapists aim to boost the patients’ own desires to better their lives. By reducing their patients’ dysfunctional behaviors while improving their motivations, therapists are eliminating harmful behaviors out of their patients’ lives that could lead to substance abuse. Achieving both of these goals simultaneously only helps increase the chances that addiction treatment patients will maintain their sobriety long-term.

To help them achieve both of these goals simultaneously, many DBT therapists will make their addiction treatment patients fill out diary cards and put their personal treatment goals and issues on them. This helps to provide therapists with a better idea of how to change their patients’ negative behaviors while also inspiring their patients to want to change their negative behaviors.

Structuring the Patients’ Environments

To achieve this goal, DBT therapists and their patients come up with a plan for how to create a home environment that will help the patients maintain sobriety. Part of structuring the home environment of addiction treatment patients includes removing negative influences out of the patients’ lives.

Enhancing and Maintaining Therapist Capabilities and Motivations

The purpose of this dialectical behavior therapy goal is to support DBT therapists in their efforts to improve the lives of their patients. One way to do this is to offer therapists professional development and skill-building opportunities.

Find Your Recovery

Our mission is to help individuals achieve sobriety by getting to the root of their addiction issues. We also aim to treat the minds, bodies, and souls of our patients.

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