Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Positive Social Change

is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Related to Positive Social Change?

Because DBT was developed for individuals with borderline personality disorder, it has certain assumptions about the client built into its treatment approach. First, it assumes that the client may have poor coping mechanisms and emotion regulation, as well as an unstable sense of self and how to create and maintain healthy relationships with others. It also assumes that clients may see suicide as a valid problem-solving technique for these issues. To address them, DBT takes a multifaceted approach that usually includes individual and group therapy, as well as team communication and collaboration among all treatment providers for a client.

Within treatment, DBT has a very specific and structured set of skill sequences, grouped into four areas. Two areas, mindfulness and distress tolerance strategies, are acceptance skills. The other two, emotion regulation and interpersonal effectiveness techniques, are change skills. Mindfulness techniques teach the client to observe, experience, and accept emotions nonjudgmentally. This is the area that is most closely related to third wave CBT. Distress tolerance techniques allow clients to remain calm and in control when distressing situations occur, rather than spiraling into destructive or impulsive behavior. The goal, again, is to nonjudgmentally accept the negative situation and find ways to deal with its pain or discomfort. Emotion regulation skills are goal-oriented and seek to identify emotions and manage or address any that are difficult or inappropriate. Finally, interpersonal effectiveness skills train clients in effective ways to interact with others so that they may maintain healthy relationships across different facets of their lives (personal, professional, etc.). This skill area is also related to behavioral therapy techniques.

Just as you did last week with ACT, for this Discussion, you consider the basic tenets of DBT and evaluate its relationship to social change.

To prepare:

  • Read the articles and review the media related to Dialectical Behavior Therapy in this week’s Learning Resources. Consider how or whether any parts of this approach resonate professionally with you.
  • Consider whether DBT is related to social change.

With these thoughts in mind:

By Day 4

Post by Day 4 by explaining whether you agree with Linehan’s belief that DBT can be related to positive social change, and why. What tenets of DBT support your position? Be specific and provide examples to support your argument.

Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources. Use proper APA format and citations.

Required Readings

Cully, J. A., & Teten, A. L. (2008). A therapist’s guide to brief cognitive behavioral therapy. Retrieved from http://www.mirecc.va.gov/visn16/docs/therapists_gu…

  • (pp. 44–65)

Fruzzetti, A. E., & Erikson, K. R. (2010). Mindfulness and acceptance interventions in cognitive-behavioral therapy. In K. S. Dobson (Ed.), Handbook of cognitive behavioral therapies (3rd ed.) (pp. 357–358). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Kabat-Zinn, J. (2003). Mindfulness-based interventions in context: Past, present, and future. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10(2), 144–156. doi:10.1093/clipsy/bpg016
Mindfulness-Based Interventions in Context: Past, Present, and Future by Kabat-Zinn, J., in Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, Vol. 10/Issue 2. Copyright 2003 by John Wiley & Sons – Journals. Reprinted by permission of John Wiley & Sons – Journals via the Copyright Clearance Center.

Linehan, M. M. (1987). Dialectical behavioral therapy: A cognitive behavioral approach to parasuicide. Journal of Personality Disorders, 1(4), 328–333. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1521/pedi.1987.1.4.328
Note: You will access this article from the Walden Library databases.

Required Media

Psychotherapy.net. (Producer). (n.d.). Marsha Linehan: Dialectical Behavior Therapy [Video file]. Psychotherapy.net: Author.
Note: This video is approximately 1 hr, 50 minutes
Note: You will access this video from the Walden Library databases.

Optional Resources

Öst, L. (2008). Efficacy of the third wave of behavioral therapies: A systematic review and meta analysis. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 46, 296–321. doi:10.1016.j.brat.2007.12.005

Williams, J. M. G, and Kabat-Zinn, J. (2011). Mindfulness: Diverse perspectives on its meaning, origins, and multiple applications at the intersection of science and dharma. Contemporary Buddhism, 12, 1–18. doi:10.1080/14639947.2011.564811

Answer preview

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) can be related to positive social change. This is because DBT focuses on creating positive changes by recognizing and effectively managing dialectical tensions. DBT is also related to a positive social change because the therapy’s main goals are teaching individuals how to develop healthy ways to regulate their emotions, cope with stress, and improve the way they relate with others (Linehan, 1987). For individuals struggling with dichotomous thinking, DBT benefit such individuals to develop lasting positive behavioral changes by helping them to understand how opposing internal states in their lives can exist together. In helping patients develop a positive change as a way of moving through painful experiences, DBT focuses on identifying the painful experiences, accepting their presence, and refraining from judgment before releasing them. Through the tenet of mindfulness, DBT enables individuals to accept the painful experiences they may be going through by preventing additional suffering (Fruzzetti & Erikson, 2009). By recognizing pain as inevitable while treating suffering as optional, therapists can utilize DBT to create a positive social change.(599words)

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