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What Does Dialectical Behavior Therapy Have to Do With Addiction Counseling?

The process of withdrawing from drugs or alcohol, overcoming an addiction, and recovering is different for everyone. So why do so many facilities propose a cookie-cutter program? At Healing Springs Ranch, therapists understand that each client has unique needs. Dialectical behavior therapy is one of the tools they rely on to meet these requirements.

What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

Dialectical behavior therapy is an offshoot of cognitive behavioral therapy. It owes its existence to a therapist who worked with clients who didn’t respond well to the traditional form of psychotherapy. While the overwhelming majority of individuals did just fine with cognitive behavioral therapy, some felt pressure and responded negatively. Recognizing that the original intent was good, but the execution lacked success, the expert made changes.

Within the confines of the treatment, clients have the opportunity to identify problem behaviors. From there, they dig deeper to recreate the thought processes that led them to engage in these behaviors. The therapist doesn’t offer any value judgment but gives clients the opportunity to identify areas that could benefit from a change. The therapist is on hand to make suggestions how someone could realize these changes.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy Takes Time

It’s a labor-intensive process that involves one-on-one therapy multiple times a week. Concurrently, there are group therapy sessions that allow for peer support and skill building. Journaling is another component of this treatment.

Some compare this modality to a train that slows down, picks up speed, and slows down again. This word picture is not a bad way of describing a process that helps the client build an awareness of self. At the same time, the program participant has the opportunity to redo a self-image with carefully chosen new attitudes. Because you cannot expect new behavioral decisions to take hold overnight, a bit of back and forth is normal.

Most rehab facilities seem content to discharge their clients after reaching the 30-day mark. Healing Springs Ranch therapists understand that this dialectical therapy option alone calls for more time and support modalities. We offer a variety of treatment settings that meet you where you are to allow you this time for healing. Examples include:

  • Short-term residential treatment assists qualified clients for a span of 30 days during which they work through addictive tendencies
  • Standard residential treatment ranges in duration from 30 to 90 days and may sometimes go beyond this timeline
  • Dual diagnosis treatment allows clients to explore the presence of mental health challenges in addition to substance abuse problems
  • Experiential therapy options combine hands-on activities with treatment modalities for a whole-person approach to healing
  • Focus on the bio-psycho-social spheres supports overall health and wellness in all areas

When a therapeutic approach changes the way that individuals interact with others, crossing into different aspects of healing make sense. Notice how all the various treatments relate to one another and build on each other, too. Communication improves, which builds self-confidence. As self-confidence progresses, so does the client’s ability to deal with stress.

Growth is progressive and continuous. It may slow down a little as someone scrutinizes decision-making processes but speeds up again during role-playing. By trying on new ways of saying “no” or “yes” in different situations, self-confidence continues to grow. As the client and therapist collaborate, the program participant learns more about acceptance of self and others.

How Does Dialectical Behavior Therapy Benefit Individuals in Recovery for Substance Abuse?

Many clients take the time to undergo dialectical behavior therapy as a part of their recovery from drug addiction. Taking the judgment-free opportunity to explore thought processes and behavior patterns, you look at stressors. In the process, you learn about your responses to external stimuli, which then lead to drug use. You gradually work your way to the center of the vicious cycle that used to define your daily life of drug or alcohol addiction.

Doing so gives you the opportunity to make conscious decisions about changing your reactions. You might also decide to avoid specific situations that will trigger drug use. In the process, you gradually change the way you interact with others.

Bonds with Peers Advance Recovery

As a result, you begin to build peer bonds that may turn into reliable friendships. Since drugs are not part of the equation, these peer relationships are healthier than the ones you sought out in the past. Because you now recover alongside like-minded peers who support your decision to stop using, your cravings diminish. The interactions with others, particularly in the group setting, teach you about ways of staying clean. Because dialectical behavior therapy moves at a slower pace than its parent psychotherapy, you don’t feel rushed.

As you progress through the therapeutic sessions, you gradually stretch your horizons and explore new coping skills. Moving forward in this manner means that you’re no longer reacting to stress the way you used to. Past hurts, trigger responses, and ways of doing things don’t determine your future at this point. You’ll feel comfortable with exploring new ways of combating stress, disappointment, and adversity.

Consider that substance abuse was a major component of all of your life’s functions in the past. This psychotherapy can create significant change in the way you live your daily life devoid of drug-seeking behavior. It might sound like this is a miraculous change. In reality, it’s part of a therapy that combines the desire for change with the need for acceptance.

Incorporating Psychotherapy in a Whole Person Approach

While working with a therapist in a dialectical behavior therapy setting, clients see their motivation to change soar. They see their abilities blossom and find that they can engage in new behaviors that seemed impossible in the past. Part and parcel of this approach is a gradual desire for a structure that spills over into someone’s personal life. At Healing Springs Ranch, we understand that this is an important part of healing.

Whereas addiction and substance abuse created chaos, healing calls for structure and predictability. We help you to achieve this goal by focusing not only on treating your drug addiction but also with a wellness-focused whole-person strategy. Examples of this approach include:

  • Botanical supplementation to undo the physical damage that substance abuse has caused your body
  • Lifestyle training that helps clients to practice self-care now and in the future, after they return home
  • Emphasis on healthy food selections to support physical healing and continued well being
  • Availability of enjoyable exercise options that include something for everyone, regardless of ability
  • Bio-psycho-social programs work together for the creation and maintenance of a new healthier you

Mind you, the steps you take during recovery aren’t comfortable. Getting to the root of your addictive tendencies takes you to situations that you wanted to forget. But if you continue to miss out on opportunities to work through these problems, they’ll continue to have a hold over you. Treating addiction is most effective when you discover the “why.”

Recovery Takes Time and Various Therapies

For this reason, friendly therapists will spend plenty of time to give you this opportunity. At the same time, it’s important that you don’t overdo it. If there are no enjoyable recreational opportunities, like equine therapy or art therapy, your life becomes imbalanced in a different way. This understanding is the foundation for the emphasis on experiential therapies alongside dialectical behavior therapy.

This therapeutic approach proves to be very successful in relapse prevention, which is the ultimate goal of recovery. During the aftercare portion of the program, you might consider continuing with this therapeutic modality from time to time. Once again, there is no right and wrong way of structuring this part of the process. You work together with therapy experts to configure aftercare and relapse prevention tools in ways that meet your needs and speak to you.

With that said, remember that bumps in the road can happen. When they do, coming back to this home away from home is always possible. The therapy picks right back up and helps you to return to a good place of healing and recovery. If you want to stay for a bit or boost your aftercare, we’re here to help you every step of the way.

Could You or a Loved One Use Dialectical Behavior Therapy to Overcome Addiction?

By now, you understand that dialectical behavior therapy is entirely customizable with your needs in mind. No two treatment models match completely simply because each person has unique needs and challenges. Your actual history and life situations determine the structuring of this therapeutic approach. As we’ve already mentioned, this type of therapy proves to be highly effective in recovery settings.

Do you believe that you or a loved one could benefit from dialectical behavior therapy as part of addiction counseling? We can help. At Healing Springs Ranch, we work with you to customize a treatment program that works for you. Dial 866-656-8384 today and get out from under the thumb of addiction.