Thursday, May 11, 2017

NYC Dialectical Behavior Therapy Practitioners Help Many To Lead Normal Lives

By Joyce Sanders

There have always been members in any society that display behaviour that are deemed destructive and disruptive. Many of these people are suicidal, others harm themselves regularly and many others suffer from severe mood disorders. Unfortunately, society often shun these sufferers, thinking them mad or anti social. It is true, however, that they can be diagnosed and treated. In NYC dialectical behavior therapy has helped many mentally ill patients to once again enjoy life.

DBT is the brain child of Marsha Linehan from the Washington University. She first developed the technique to treat patients with borderline personality disorders and suicidal tendencies. Soon, however, clinical studies showed that this treatment method is also highly effective for patients suffering from a variety of other mental problems. Those with eating disorders and severe mood swings, for example, have benefited from DBT. Even people that were traumatised by sexual abuse can be helped.

DBT is a revolutionary combination of existing cognitive treatment methods and other techniques that are mostly derived from Zen Buddhism. Cognitive treatment involves ways in which to control the emotions. This is deemed important, but the additional Buddhism components also help patients to deal with stress, to become mentally more aware, to face reality and to accept the consequences of their actions. Patients undergoing this program made fewer suicide attempts and the drop out rate is much lower.

There are two components in every DBT program. Firstly, patients attend a psychotherapy session each week. In between sessions, patients can contact the therapist at any time. During these sessions patients are helped to examine the underlying reasons for their destructive behaviour. They also learn how to cope with or avoid situations that can be distressing and they are lead towards devising ways in which they can improve their own lives.

Individual sessions are augmented by weekly group sessions. During these sessions patients interact with each other. They learn that they are not the only ones suffering from destructive behaviour. They learn how to interact with others in a positive manner and how to cope with stress. The group sessions also focus on teaching patients how to control their emotions, especially when part of a group.

Treatment programs do not have fixed time tables. Each patient progress at his own pace. However, as with many psychological treatment programs, patients do not progress unless they accept the fact that they have a problem and develop a strong desire to overcome those problems. Some DBT practitioners advocate a tough love approach where patients are confronted with their problems and where they have to choose between treatment and rejection.

DBT has some critics too. They say that therapists design their programs to deal with a single disorder. This will not produce results, they say, because most patients suffer from a number of disorders that must all be treated simultaneously. Critics also lament the fact that no research is conducted to follow up the progress of patients that have completed treatment programs.

Even in this enlightened age many people do not understand the pain and suffering endured by those with mental disorders. They are shunned and avoided, thereby only making the situation much worse. With DBT sufferers can learn how to take control of their lives and how to overcome the disabling effects of their behaviour.

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