Dialectical behavioral therapy is one of the most commonly used behavioral therapies in addiction recovery programs. Learn how Driftwood Recovery uses DBT to boost four key areas: mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation and distress tolerance.

How Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Promotes Mindfulness

Woman on Beach at Peace After Undergoing Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Mindfulness is about recognizing physical and psychological sensations. Often, those hoping for chronic pain management without addictive medications don’t see the value in mindfulness training. While it might sound counter-intuitive, developing mindfulness can actually be effective in reducing chronic pain.

During dialectical behavioral therapy at Driftwood Recovery, therapists and counselors teach individuals to observe and record exactly what’s going on in the current moment. This means not thinking about the past or the future. Contrary to popular belief, immediate sensations don’t cause pain. Instead, the worries related to how the sensations appear or how they might develop are to blame.

Being free from the past can help the moment stand alone. In this exact second, is there pain? Where is the pain present? Identifying how the legs, the arms, the heart, the back and the brain feel can be a grounding force.

In addition, mindfulness means not worrying about pain development. When individuals focus on the sum of a lifetime of pain, chronic pain is unmanageable. Conversely, mindfulness helps clients manage pain moment by moment.

Boosting Interpersonal Effectiveness Through Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Clients participating in one of our addiction treatment programs often clearly state their goals. Some goals may include:

  • Embracing sobriety
  • Learning to effectively manage pain
  • Re-establishing relationships
  • Finding fulfillment in life

However, actually achieving these goals is hard, especially if there are internal suggestions to take action contrary to the goal.

Interpersonal effectiveness teaches our clients how to resist those urges that work against health, happiness and sobriety goals. During dialectical behavioral therapy, individuals will have the opportunity to practice skills that can boost interpersonal effectiveness. This could include learning to say no to stressful situations, asking for what you need to be healthy and acting in a way that won’t damage goal achievement or personal integrity.

Using Dialectical Behavioral Therapy to Regulate Emotions

Emotion regulation is a key objective of Driftwood Recovery’s dialectical behavioral therapy. When battling addiction or the prospect of pain recovery without prescription medication, it’s natural for individuals to feel a range of emotions. Depression, anxiety and anger, for example, are common. DBT emphasizes the healthy regulation of these emotions.

Dialectical behavioral therapy helps clients recognize emotions and label them directly. Individuals can then decide if they truly want to act on that emotion. DBT often helps clients see that emotions are temporary responses that shouldn’t lead to action. Also, labeling emotions helps to distract the mind, often reducing the severity of unhealthy feelings.

Increasing Distress Tolerance With Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Tolerating distress is a challenging aspect of recovery. By tolerating temporary unhappiness, stress or discomfort, those emotions won’t easily derail our clients on their quest for a better life.

Distress tolerance helps individuals maintain a better balance between accepting a situation and changing the circumstances. While it discourages wallowing, it recognizes that some discomfort is inevitable. Effective distress tolerance strategies include:

  • Using distraction techniques
  • Practicing self-soothing
  • Creating pros and cons for any action
  • Deciding to improve the moment

Dialectical behavioral therapy is just one element of addiction and pain recovery. To learn more about how Driftwood Recovery helps clients embrace a new, productive life, call 866-426-4694.