Menu Close

Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Borderline Personality Disorder

Providing Trusted, Evidence-Based
Treatment for Three Decades and Counting

If you or a loved one is experiencing addiction, we’re here to help.

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is currently one of the most popular treatment methodologies in world of alcohol and drug rehab. Therapists around the country are beginning to use this interactive form of treatment to help their addicted patients make better decisions about their lifestyles and their substance abuse.

But the real journey of DBT began in the early 1990’s with the work of trailblazing therapist Marsha Linehan and her borderline personality disorder patients (BPD). Her effective treatment of these patients laid the groundwork for the expansion of dialectical behavior therapy to include help for individuals with drug addictions and self-harm issues.

What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

Counselor coaching patientDialectical Behavior Therapy is a form of treatment where therapists engage patients in an effort to help them become more assertive, enjoy better relationships with others, cope more effectively with stress and regulate their own emotions in an healthier manner. The core of dialectical behavior therapy is cognitive training.

During cognitive therapy, the counselor uses role play to help the patient gain a better understanding of the situations that have brought on feelings of stress or fear. The patient and the counselor then craft solutions together that will enhance self-image, increase assertiveness and help the individual gain a better world-view regarding their actions. The “dialectical” aspect of DBT refers to the concept that everything in life is somehow connected, and the way an individual reacts to a given situation will have an impact on everything around them.

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline personality disorder is a mental illness that results in an individual’s deeply warped sense of self. The person who struggles with DBT is unable to maintain interpersonal relationships and finds it difficult to execute any kind of long-range planning in their own life. The individual with BPD is extremely impulsive and rarely thinks about the consequences of his or her actions.

How Does DBT Help Those With Borderline Personality Disorder?

During her initial work with dialectical behavior therapy, Dr. Linehan determined that her borderline personality disorder patients had no idea how their actions were impacting those around them. DBT helped enlighten them about the ramifications of their impulsive behavior. By talking through real world situations with the patients, Linehan was able to paint a clear picture of how building up one’s own self-image actually attracts more people and creates stronger relationships.

DBT allows the BPD therapist to walk that fine line between helping the individual accept who they are and getting them to make the changes necessary to become a more productive member of society.

Finding Help for Borderline Personality Disorder and Addiction

Michael’s House is one of the few drug rehab facilities in California currently offering a full slate of dialectical behavior therapy programs. Michael’s House uses DBT to help not only individuals with an alcohol or drug addiction, but also self-harm issues such as cutting.

If you or a loved one struggles with addiction and self-harm, or you suspect there is a mental illness contributing to the situation, we are here for you. Contact Michael’s House today at 760.548.4032 to speak to an admissions coordinator about available treatment options.