Treating any kind of psychological oriented disorder has to include some therapies for trauma and mental health. Often people who have developed an addiction have done so by “self medicating” another condition. In many cases this condition is either a psychological trauma or some form of physical discomfort such as pain. A psychological trauma can be from a childhood experience, such as a divorce or death or accident. Many people still carry these scars and have emotions they don’t know how to cope with so they begin drinking or using drugs to numb the pain. In any event, these emotions will crop up in their everyday relationships and interactions with other people and clients must learn how to identify the problems and manage the emotions and reactions within these relationships.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, or DBT, helps people to identify their strengths and to build on them. Clinicians also use DBT to help people, or clients, identify thoughts, beliefs or assumptions that make their lives harder. For example, someone who thinks they have to be perfect is setting themselves up for eminent failure. No one is perfect. Someone who feels they’re a bad person because they get angry sometimes is going to need to understand that everybody gets angry sometimes, anger is a normal human emotion. If there is an unusual level of anger or it happens too often, that may be indicative of another issue. But, under normal circumstances, ultimately, it’s how the individual processes the anger that counts. By identifying the thoughts and feelings the process of learning how to deal with them can begin.
With DBT we first focus on any form of self-injurious behaviors, followed by any behaviors that would get in the way of the therapy process. Clients learn to pay close attention to relationships and to work out problems in their relationships with the therapist, including within the therapist-client relationship itself. Individual sessions in DBT also focus on improving the quality of life in general and dealing with any post-traumatic stress responses that may occur, along with helping clients enhance their self-respect and self-image. We use DBT in both individual therapy sessions and group sessions. It is just one of the Cognitive Behavioral Therapies we use, along with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Mindfulness training and Transactional Analysis. At Lanna, we have experts in all the most effective therapies and treatments in the addiction field and we are continuously seeking and learning about emerging techniques.