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Inpatient DBT Programs

Inpatient DBT Programs

Discover how DBT treatment programs can make all the difference with addiction and co-occurring mental health issues.

Dialectical behavior therapy, or DBT, is a cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy that focuses on the psychosocial aspects of treatment for mental health and other issues. Developed in the late 1980’s by Marsha N. Linehan, DBT was originally used to treat individuals with severe suicidal behaviors and borderline personality disorder (BPD.) Dr. Linehan theorized that some people are more inclined to respond to emotional situations, particularly romantic, family and friend relations, in a faster and more intense way. Emotions run high, and it takes longer to return to baseline levels once a reaction occurs. DBT teaches specific skills needed to cope with these triggers and effectively deal with the corresponding emotions. Inpatient DBT programs provide the environment to effectively teach these skills.

DBT For Addiction

Research shows that DBT is a successful form of psychotherapy for the treatment of substance abuse and addiction. This therapy begins by teaching individuals two fundamentals: acceptance and change. These two building blocks are also the guiding principles used in 12-step programs, the Serenity Prayer illustrates this well.

Through the principle of change, DBT promotes abstinence from substance use from the start. Therapists ask patients to stop drug or alcohol use immediately. Since the concept of stopping anything for a lifetime may seem daunting, therapist and client agree on a time frame for not using. A day, week, five minutes or an hour are all possibilities. At the end of each session, the agreement is renewed. Clients piece together abstinence with short, achievable periods of not using drugs or alcohol. This again, is similar to the 12-step programs’ ‘Just for Today’ slogan.

5 Main Focus Points of DBT
  1. Skills training focuses on enhancing clients’ skills in mindfulness, interpersonal communication, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance. Skills are taught and practiced so they can be applied to daily life.
  2. Behavioral training helps to increase client motivation and reduce behaviors contrary to building a life worth living – the fundamental principle of inpatient DBT programs.
  3. Generalizing includes homework, access to a therapist outside of scheduled meeting times, and family counseling. This involves taking skills learned in training and using them in life. The therapist provides opportunities for clients to practice these skills.  

  4. Environmental structuring aims to create an environment to reinforce new, effective behaviors rather than troublesome ones. For example, a client might structure an environment to avoid or change social circles that encourage them to return to substance use.

  5. Therapist enhancement enables the DBT therapists and teams to continue to motivate clients by working together to address client’s’ individual challenges and to identify how best to problem-solve these specific issues.

Two Main Therapy Components of DBT

DBT takes the five main focus points and breaks them out into two therapy components.

  1. Individual Psychotherapy
    This component of
    inpatient DBT programs, is tailored to meet each client’s specific needs. Weekly, private meetings with a therapist address problem-solving for issues occurring during the week. Suicidal and self-injurious behaviors, if present, are always addressed first. Any behaviors potentially interfering with therapy, such as missing meetings with therapist, consistent lateness, etc., are discussed. Other topics can include:

    • Ways to decrease stress
    • Disruptive behaviors
    • Post-traumatic stress
    • Concerns about quality of life
    • Ways to improve self-image and self-respect
    • Ways to improve daily living
  2. Group Psychotherapy
    In this second component, a therapist leads a group of individuals dealing with similar issues. These weekly sessions allows the group to learns skills from four module sets of behavioral skills: distress tolerance/acceptance, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation, and mindfulness.

    • The first module builds acceptance and distress tolerance skills. Clients gain an understanding that life can be painful, at times, and find ways to accept this in a nonjudgmental way. Four crisis survival skill sets are taught in this module: thinking through pros and cons, self-soothing, how to improve the present moment, and distracting techniques.
    • The second module focuses on interpersonal effectiveness. During this module, clients learn how to effectively ask for what they need, say “no” to unwanted invitations or opportunities, and learn how to cope with interpersonal conflict.  One of the important goals in this section is to maximize the client’s ability to get what he/she needs from any given relationship without damaging it. Skills in this area are built by working through real life situations in a class or in a one-on-one setting.
    • The third module is emotion regulation.  This section was especially important for the originally intended audience–those with borderline personality disorder–because this disorder is characterized by emotional extremes and an inability to control them.  Other disorders, including substance use disorders, benefit from this module as well.  Clients develop practical skills, such as: identifying and labeling emotions, reducing the power of emotions, increasing mindfulness of present emotions, and identifying those obstacles in the way of changing emotions for improved living.
    • The final module is mindfulness. In mindfulness, clients learn the healing power of thought observation, as opposed to reacting automatically to external events, emotions and relationships. Taking a step back from an emotion or event, allows the individual to view a situation in a nonjudgmental way and not become overly tied to it. Mindfulness provides clarity that a negative thought or feeling isn’t always a reflection of reality. This technique is empowering and teaches that a thought is only a thought.
What Are the Goals & Benefits of Inpatient DBT Programs?

One of the most important goals of DBT, is to create long-term abstinence by making positive moment-to-moment choices. Through the components and modules, clients learn skills to make these important choices. If relapse does occur, DBT teaches clients to view the relapse as a problem to be solved, not a treatment failure.

In DBT programs, everyone is taught to consistently replace destructive and harmful choices, with positive, healthy ones. This is learned by the following practices:

  • Living with others peacefully
  • Living in the moment
  • Accepting change
  • Being at peace with oneself
  • Benefiting from emotions

Getting Started in Futures’ Inpatient DBT Program

In Futures’ Inpatient DBT Treatment Program, clients learn skills to find freedom from addiction and mental health disorders.

Futures creates a successful inpatient DBT program by combining the principles of DBT therapy with recovery strategies through a holistic approach to heal both body and mind.  At Futures, we understand the need for a trusting partnership for a successful recovery; we staff only the highest-quality therapists trained in specialties ranging from DBT to hypnotherapy and more.

The evidence-based therapies used at Futures are designed for the benefit for our clients, to help them and their families recover from problems they currently face. Addiction can be overwhelming, and co-occurring disorders that often accompany addiction can be just as difficult to understand.  However, with the help of a treatment center that has the understanding, experience and expertise to guide you, recovery is possible. Call today for your consultation and find out how we can help.