Frequently Asked Questions About Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Casinos are not a common pastime for the ordinary person. However, the gambling industry has made it easier, to begin with, the combination of various types and venues of gambling. The harmless microtransactions we do in games, regardless of platform, can also be the beginning of uncontrolled spending, justified by the thought that it only costs so little.

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Being careless about this can lead to compulsive gambling. It is a condition where one cannot control their urge to gamble despite its negative consequences to a person’s life. Even despite the pandemic, when physical gambling establishments are closed, gambling persists among people.

Now, all it takes is to have a smartphone or a computer, an internet connection, and knowledge of a reliable gambling website.

Gambling is a risk and reward process. But usually, what a person sees is only the potential reward. Due to competitiveness, one gets inclined to try again and again, thinking that the next try will give them the compensation they expect. This is very rarely the case, as the odds of winning games are slim, and thus compulsive gambling begins.

People who gamble compulsively may refuse to acknowledge their problem, thinking that this time will be the last anyway or that they will even break even and make profits the next time they gamble.

The same people tend to hide their spending from their family and friends and may resort to lies and theft when no longer able to fund their activities.

Age is a significant risk factor of compulsive gambling, as it often occurs among the youth. This part of the population grew up with microtransactions as their norm, unable to see the accrued cost of often buying small game content packets.

Another significant risk factor is pre-existing mental conditions such as anxiety, depression, and personality disorders. People with these kinds of situations are more likely to begin and get hooked to gambling.

When you notice this problem with yourself or with a loved one, the important thing is to acknowledge the problem and know that you need help. There are various ways to help get away from gambling, such as taking medication or joining self-help groups to get to know others with the same problem.

There is also the option of signing up for therapy, and this article introduces dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). The following are some of the frequently asked questions (FAQs) about DBT, which can help you decide whether you need it or not for your condition.

What does dialectical behavioral therapy mean?

Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a type of talk therapy under cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT. Initially, the focus of DBT was on treating borderline personality disorder (BPD) and suicidal behaviors. But with its proven benefits, the therapy has been adapted for addressing other mental health conditions.

Essentially, the term “dialectical” means bringing together both acceptance and change in therapy. It focuses on four vital therapeutic skills: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotional regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.

What are the six main points of dialectical behavior therapy?

DBT consists of six main points where change occurs. The first stage is pre-contemplation, the second is contemplation, followed by preparation, action, maintenance, and mindfulness. The pre-contemplation point is where the patient is still unaware of the problem; meanwhile, contemplation is where realization happens.

The following points after that are where change gradually happens through therapy. The final point—mindfulness—is achieved after undergoing the process of acceptance and change in DBT.

What is the difference between cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy?

To make it simple, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a specific type of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). While CBT revolves around recognizing and addressing problematic thoughts, DBT’s focus is on regulating harmful behaviors.

The process of DBT delves in deeper on acceptance and management of emotions with the result of mindfulness. In a way, DBT roots from CBT’s foundation but addresses more specific concerns on destructive behaviors.

What are the main components of dialectical behavior therapy?

There are four main components of DBT, namely: skills training group, individual treatment, phone coaching, and therapist consultation team. 

    • Skills training group: A group leader teaches essential behavioral skills, typically within 24 weeks, among clients. 
    • Individual therapy involves boosting motivation and applying the learned behavioral skills from the skills training group in real-life events and challenges.
    • Phone coaching: This component aims to provide clients with coaching outside in-office therapy sessions when experiencing a difficult situation.
    • Therapist consultation team: This team is formed to support DBT therapists and keep them motivated while working with clients.

What does it mean to think dialectically?

The term dialectical refers to the balance or middle ground between opposing points of view. Instead of categorizing things as “black” or “white,” dialectical thinking points out that opposing points can coexist. Hence, there is no such thing as absolute when you think dialectically.

In DBT, thinking dialectically allows you to ease the thought that a bad situation will remain forever. It is the practice of accepting an adverse situation and moving forward, and working towards changing that.

Can a person with BPD really love?

A person with BPD can love and experience feelings related to love, such as affection, admiration, attraction, and desire. They also undergo different stages of love as with people not diagnosed with the condition. People with BPD typically have a high level of devotion in a romantic relationship.

However, it’s important to note that people with BPD have extremely sensitive natures. Hence, it’s likely that they will project intense behaviors and reactions in their relationships that are out of their control.

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Is DBT effective for depression?

DBT provides a comprehensive therapy approach that can help with depression. Since it involves a cognitive, behavioral, and acceptance-based approach, it can effectively address the condition’s common symptoms.

DBT helps depression patients accept their situation, manage overwhelming emotions, and develop coping skills to make changes in their emotional situation. 

Is DBT good for trauma?

Traumatic experiences can manifest as unwanted and intense emotions later in life. The approach of DBT helps address trauma as it helps develop self-control and keeps you grounded in the present. It allows people with trauma to regulate their mood and develop acceptance and healthy coping skills for their trauma.

How long does DBT treatment last?

While there is no fixed duration for the DBT procedure, the full course would typically take around six months to finish. A client would spend around six weeks to complete each DBT module, namely: emotional regulation, distress tolerance, mindfulness, and interpersonal effectiveness.

During these weekly sessions, the client and therapist undergo the main concepts of standard DBT. It includes the skills training group, individual treatment, phone coaching, and therapist consultation team. 

Is CBT or DBT better for anxiety?

Many people have found success in anxiety treatment with CBT. Hence, it is a more common treatment for the condition than DBT. However, DBT is more helpful for addressing extreme anxiety symptoms, such as thoughts of self-harm and suicide.

Since each person responds differently with different treatment methods, it’s best to consult your mental healthcare provider regarding the matter. Psychological consultation will help you determine the best treatment option for your condition.

Does DBT work for anxiety?

Emotions linked with anxiety, such as fear, can be challenging to manage and cope up with. DBT will help you understand and acknowledge where these distressing emotions are coming from. It also provides a structure to follow in altering and regulating emotions and reactions related to anxiety.

Upon acquiring the cognitive and emotional skills in this structure, you can start applying them in your life effectively.

What are the nine symptoms of borderline personality disorder?

BPD manifests in different ways. However, as a diagnostic procedure, experts have come up with nine major categories of BPD symptoms. To get diagnosed with the condition, the patient must show at least five out of these nine symptoms. They must also have experienced these for a long-term, which usually starts during adolescence.

The nine symptoms of BPD are:

  1. Fear of abandonment
  2. Unstable relationships
  3. Unclear self-image
  4. Impulsiveness and self-destructive behaviors
  5. Self-harm
  6. Intense mood swings
  7. Feeling of emptiness
  8. Short temper and intense anger
  9. Losing touch with reality

What are target behaviors in DBT?

There are three categories of target behaviors in DBT. The first is life-threatening behavior, which is any action that involves self-harm. Next are therapy-interfering behaviors, which involve patient actions and behaviors that disrupt or delay the session.

Finally, the quality-of-life-interfering behavior covers almost everything that is not imminently life-threatening, from substance abuse, relationship problems, disregarding medications, etc.

What disorders does DBT treat?

Although initially intended as a treatment for BPD, DBT has effectively addressed various mental health conditions. It is now common to use DBT to treat anxiety, depression, eating disorders, PTSD, and substance abuse.

It helps people regulate emotions, develop healthy relationships, and become mindful of their thoughts and behavior.

Does DBT therapy really work?

Studies have found that it works for individuals with diverse backgrounds and demographics. However, the best results are seen with clients who are entirely willing to reach acceptance and undergo recovery.

Furthermore, as with other therapies and treatments, DBT may either be effective or ineffective depending on varying circumstances.

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DBT is a proven approach that works for a wide range of backgrounds and demographics. It is a specific type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that focuses on four vital therapeutic skills: distress tolerance, emotional regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, and mindfulness. 

DBT targets three categories of behaviors: life-threatening, therapy-interfering, and quality-of-life-interfering. Patients learn how to think dialectically, wherein two opposing points may coexist. This helps that patient to accept the adverse situation and move towards changing that. 

There are six stages of DBT, and these are as follows: pre-contemplation, contemplations, preparation, action, maintenance, and mindfulness.

These stages are a combination of individual and group training to boost motivation and enable emotional support. The full course of a  DBT procedure may take around six months to finish. 

As DBT can address its symptoms, it can definitely address compulsive gambling too. People unable to control their spending and later unable to admit this problem are at risk for this condition. It can eventually make a person’s life take a drastic turn.

This problem affects both the compulsive gambler and their family and friends, so it is better to get it treated as early as possible. DBT can tremendously help the compulsive gambler manage their condition and live healthily without resorting to self-destructive behavior.