NYC Dialectical Behavior Therapy Practitioners Help Many To Lead Normal Lives

By Joyce Sanders

There are numerous people suffering from behavioural disorders and behavioural patterns that are deemed harmful. This may include tendencies to harm oneself, try to commit suicide and the abuse of substances. Many people say that these sufferers are simply weak minded, unambitious and wilful, but this is certainly not always the case. In NYC dialectical behavior therapy, or DBT for short, has proven to be extremely helpful in steering sufferers towards more balanced lives.

DBT methods were first developed by Marsha Linehan, associated with the Washington University. Her initial goal was to develop a way to treat patients with borderline personality disorders. Very soon, however, studies and empirical research showed that this method is also highly effective in treating patients with a wide variety of disorders, including chronically suicidal patients and those with severe mood swings and tendencies to harm themselves physically.

DBT is a revolutionary combination of existing cognitive treatment methods and other techniques that are mostly derived from Zen Buddhism. Cognitive treatment involves ways in which to control the emotions. This is deemed important, but the additional Buddhism components also help patients to deal with stress, to become mentally more aware, to face reality and to accept the consequences of their actions. Patients undergoing this program made fewer suicide attempts and the drop out rate is much lower.

There are two components in every DBT program. Firstly, patients attend a psychotherapy session each week. In between sessions, patients can contact the therapist at any time. During these sessions patients are helped to examine the underlying reasons for their destructive behaviour. They also learn how to cope with or avoid situations that can be distressing and they are lead towards devising ways in which they can improve their own lives.

The second components of DBT is weekly group sessions. Sessions generally last two and a half hours. Patients are encouraged to interact with each other and to share their emotions. Patients are also equipped with skills on coping with coping with distress, regulating and controlling their emotions and how to face reality. A high emphasis is also placed on teaching patients to develop effective interpersonal skills.

The length of a treatment program will depend solely on the progress that the patients makes and the severity of the disorders that he suffers from. Many patients refuse to admit that they are suffering from one or more disorders that render them unable to function within society. In such cases treatment is extremely difficult. Some practitioners argue that some patients need to be forced into treatment.

Critics of DBT say that treatment programs tend to focus on specific disorders, such as suicidal tendencies, but that most mentally disturbed patients suffer from a complex variety of mental health problems. They also say that not enough research have been conducted to conclusively prove that DBT produces results. In addition, very little research have been done to follow up on patients after completing their treatment programs.

There can be no doubt that numerous patients have been helped by DBT. Most of them will be able to lead productive lives and to act as responsible members of society. It is important to keep in mind that these patients suffer from a recognized condition. It can be treated, just like a medical condition can be treated.

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