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Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Cutting

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Treatment for Three Decades and Counting

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Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is an effective form of treatment for self-harm issues such as cutting. DBT is unique in the ways it engages patients and helps to reshape their viewpoints about themselves and their personal interactions.

What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a specific type of cognitive-behavioral-psychotherapy developed in the late 1980s by psychologist Marsha M. Linehan. It was originally developed as a way to treat borderline personality disorder.

DBT works to eliminate unwanted behavior through the enhancement of an individual’s self-image, interpersonal skills, and decision-making skills. DBT often includes the use of cognitive role-playing and talk-based therapy.

During a DBT session, the counselor will often re-enact certain events from the life of the patient. Through a series of questions, the counselor establishes how the individual can change his behavior in order to bring about a different, more productive outcome. This allows the therapist to make suggestions to modify the individual’s behavior without seeming controlling or judgmental.

Dialectical behavior therapy has been proven effective in the treatment of several different conditions including self-harm and cutting, drug addiction, alcohol addiction and borderline personality disorder.

What is Self-Harm Behavior?

Individuals who injure themselves without the intent of committing suicide are referred to as self-harm patients. The behavior is generally seen through cutting, hair pulling, or picking at the skin compulsively.

Self-harm behavior has its roots in a variety of events and mental conditions, including:

  • Past physical abuse
  • A history of sexual abuse
  • Trauma
  • Stress
  • Eating disorders (such as bulimia or anorexia)
  • Low self-esteem.

Self-harm behavior is a dangerous practice. Normally, self-harm is most commonly seen in young people around 12 years old and continues (if left untreated) throughout the teenage years and on into the early twenties.

Cutting and Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Therapists have found success in treating individuals with cutting issues through the use of Dialectical Behavior Therapy. DBT engages the individual in ways that standard therapy may not. Some examples include:

  • The use of role-playing helps the individual learn how to form stronger personal relationships. These activities raise his self-esteem and diminish the feelings that can lead to cutting behavior.
  • Teaching the individual how to cope effectively with stressful situations. Stress is one of the most common factors behind self-harm. By using talk therapy as a means of creating individualized strategies for coping with stress, the DBT helps reduce the need for self-harm.
  • Enhance the worldview of the individual so he understands the impact his actions have on friends, family and the rest of society.

Michael’s House is a residential drug rehabilitation facility that uses dialectical behavior therapy to treat individuals with self-harm issues, drug addiction as well as a number of other conditions. As one of the leading DBT-friendly facilities in California, Michael’s House is at the forefront of this exciting new treatment modality. If you would like more information, please call us today. One of our admissions counselors will be glad to answer your questions. Please contact Michael’s House at 760.548.4032 now.