Dialectic Behavioral Therapy

At Renaissance Ranch, dialectical behavior therapy, or DBT, is one of the key methods of treatment that we use to help treat patients at our facility. DBT is is a specific type of psychotherapy that was created in the 1970s by Marsha Linehan to treat borderline personality disorder. Today, DBT is used to treat a wide variety of different behavioral disorders, including addiction and most co-occurring disorders. This makes it a highly effective treatment method for substance abuse.

Dialectic Behavioral Therapy

How Does DBT Work?

The main idea of DBT is to find a way to accept the current troubling circumstances that one is in, rather than live in denial. After that, one must work on finding a desire to change these circumstances. At its core, DBT is about pointing out and addressing “target behaviors” that empower an addict to make changes that will give them control over their lives. This leads to actions that are necessary to heal during addiction recovery.

Dialectical behavior therapy is focused on the idea that many individuals will suffer triggering behavior when they are in intense, emotional situations, especially if those situations involve their friends, family, and other loved ones. As such, DBT is designed to help teach people to have coping skills that they can use in these situations because that is when they will really be tested. With time and effort, these positive coping mechanisms will replace destructive ones, including substance abuse.

Key benefits of Dialectic Behavioral Therapy

DBT is becoming widely utilized as a therapeutic method in the addiction recovery world. There are a handful of reasons for this, as it is a method that comes with several key benefits, including the following:

  • Development of critical communication skills that are necessary for a post-recovery environment.
  • Improvement of life skills that helps build a routine and negate relapse trippers.
  • Focuses on better emotional regulation, which is critical to fighting the brain-altering effects of substance abuse.
  • It uses an increased emphasis on setting goals and systematically working towards them.
  • It can be used beyond recovery to have a better attitude towards life, happiness, and success.

Different Applications

At Renaissance Ranch, we employ DBT is two distinct settings: individual therapy and group therapy. In an individual therapy session, our therapists will help patients identify and focus in on the destructive patterns in their behavior that emerge in challenging situations and then help them seek positive replacements that can deter that destructive behavior. In a group setting, patients are able to monitor their progress in conjunction with their peers and can get meaningful critiques, recognition, and praise for how they grow and change their behavior.

How to Provide DBT

While dialectical behavior therapy is a specific therapeutic method that we use for our patients, there are a variety of ways and environments that we utilize it in. This means bringing it to them in a three-phase level of therapy, which includes the following:


  • Individual Therapy: We use individual therapy as a time to really focus in on what behaviors need to be changed using dialectical behavior therapy. This helps the patient work one-on-one in a personalized environment to find strategies to make effective changes to their communication skills.
  • Skills Groups: After a period of undergoing DBT, we put our patients into a skills group therapy session where they can take what they have learned in an individual therapy setting and apply it to communicate with their peers. This includes properly expressing and managing emotions.
  • Phone Support: Even when our patients are not in one of their designated therapy sessions, they have 24/7 phone support with our counselors to discuss issues and work on their communication skills.

Using DBT to Build Personal Skills

DBT is especially helpful with interpersonal skills. This helps in knowing to keep eye contact and not whine for what you want. Instead, negotiate what you need. There is a difference between mowing a lawn then demanding to be paid, and asking if you can mow a lawn for a specific amount of money. It stresses the importance of looking outside of yourself and doing all you can to mend good relationships by assessing the situation and giving an appropriate response. 

There is a big difference between telling someone to help you because you are overwhelmed, versus asking if anyone is available to help and offering to give something in return. DBT skills and techniques align with life, communication, and social skills.

Get Help at a Utah Addiction Center Today!

If you or someone you know is in need of help overcoming substance abuse, then don’t hesitate to reach out to Renaissance Ranch today. We are one of the top rehab centers in Utah, and our team will work tirelessly to help you get the help you need.