Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
Originally developed for the treatment of borderline personality disorders and associated symptoms, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a treatment model with broader application. At Solstice, we use DBT to help clients manage self-destructive behaviors, problematic relational patterns, and overwhelming emotions.
DBT treatment focuses on four primary skill sets that address key areas of functioning. These skill sets are:
- Emotion Regulation: Students learn to determine when and why they develop overwhelming emotions and how to better manage those emotions. Students learn when they are vulnerable to these emotions, how to structure their lives, and how to build resilience as well. This enables students to express emotions in healthy rather than destructive.
- Mindfulness: Students learn to stay “in the moment”, become more aware, and focus less on the negatives and more on the positives. Students learn to overcome painful experiences and judgments of themselves and others.
- Distress Tolerance: These skills focus on managing highly upsetting, distressful situations with effectiveness and resilience. In times of trouble, clients often avoid pain which can often make things worse over time. Building distress tolerance helps clients develop healthier responses.
- Interpersonal Effectiveness: These skills help students express beliefs and feelings effectively. We teach students how to set limits, be assertive, and problem solve to develop caring, quality relationships.
In addition to the above skills, DBT also emphasizes acceptance that life is difficult sometimes. By helping our students be more accepting, clients feel more empowered, less anxious and emotional, and be more productive in moving forward.
At Solstice, DBT is integrated significantly into the daily program. In addition to weekly Specialty Groups, our students use diary cards that can be used as reminders of skillful responses and options in difficult moments. All staff members at Solstice are trained in DBT skills and interventions, enabling them to assist the girls at anytime throughout the day when she may need a reminder, or support in implementation of a DBT skill.