Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) falls under the general umbrella of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). These are methods that involve working with a therapist to identify and change negative patterns of thought in order to bring about positive changes in behavior.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy in Agoura Hills from Ventura County Therapist Lori Kansteiner, LMFT, LAADC

Ventura County DBT Therapy

DBT, like all forms of cognitive behavioral therapy, is predicated on one fundamental idea: our thoughts and perceptions strongly influence our behavior. With certain mental health conditions, negative patterns of thought develop that do not reflect reality, which lead to behavior that can be harmful to others and ourselves.

DBT, in particular, focuses on those individuals who react in an extraordinarily intense and disproportionate way to the kinds of emotionally-laden situations that can arise within various types of interpersonal relationships (romantic, familial, friendship). These kind of reactions are associated with individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD), and DBT was, in fact, first developed as a treatment for this condition.

DBT involves working with the therapist to identify negative patterns of thought, as in all CBT methods, but also places emphasis on developing skills in terms of interpersonal relationships, emotional regulation, coping, etc. This often takes the form of a combination of individual and group therapy sessions.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy in Ventura County from Agoura Hills Therapist Lori Kansteiner, LMFT, LAADC

How Can Dialectical Behavior Therapy Help?

Individuals with BPD or similar conditions often see the world in a very stark, black-and-white way, where even minor setbacks are interpreted as intense crises requiring intense reactions; this can lead to drastic swings in mood and behavior that is erratic and disproportionate to a given situation.

Navigating our interpersonal relationships involves navigating between different emotional poles, viewpoints, and possible reactions. Individuals with BPD and related conditions find themselves, without even wanting to, gravitating toward the extremes in all of these. What the term “dialectical” in dialectical behavior therapy picks out is a focus on finding the middle ground within these various poles.

The kinds of intense reactions characteristic of BPD can include suicidal and violent acts, so it is important to address the patterns of thought that lead to these kind of reactions and develop the skills for dealing with them as they arise. This is what DBT was developed to achieve, and it has proven to be a very effective treatment in this area.

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DBT Therapy serving Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Malibu, Oak Park, Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, Newbury Park, Camarillo, Moorpark, Simi Valley, Oxnard and Ventura areas.