Overcoming an addiction requires strength and commitment to confront the disease and properly address the addictive behaviors that have plagued your life. While much of the responsibility of achieving a happier and healthier lifestyle is yours to shoulder, finding a qualified clinical facility to guide your path is just as essential.

Taking the time to research the types of treatment available enables you to not only choose the one that best fits your personal needs, but it also empowers you to align with the therapeutic approach before beginning the program.

From cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), the numerous options available can sometimes feel overwhelming. Fortunately for you, this article breaks down the basics of DBT to give you a better understanding of the treatment approach to identify if it may be a good fit for your recovery.

What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

DBT is a form of talk therapy that implements a cognitive behavioral approach during the therapeutic process. It encourages people to address personal deficits in their lives to develop skills and abilities to improve their negative personal behavioral traits.

A key focus of DBT is to help an individual improve their ability to use skilled behavior when necessary through positive emotional regulation and better decision-making. This helps to develop effective coping skills and encourages an individual to not only identify their addictive impulses, but to also implement the necessary skills to avoid instances of relapse.

What are the Benefits of Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

While most forms of cognitive behavioral treatment have been shown to be effective in treating addiction, the specific benefits of DBT revolve around the relationship component of the therapeutic approach.

The therapist and patient work to establish attainable goals, and they engage in weekly treatment sessions to develop a viable game plan and implement accountability throughout the course of treatment. Learning to work through your negative emotions allows you to normalize your experiences and develop better ways to overcome instances of temptation to attain sustained sobriety.

In order to achieve personal success in DBT, four specific skills are generally focused on. These include:

  • Distress tolerance – When someone is experiencing a distressful situation, it is common to want to relieve that feeling immediately. For those struggling with addiction, this typically includes taking drugs or drinking to avoid the negative feeling, but DBT teaches you to accept and tolerate those feelings instead of trying to escape them.
  • Mindfulness – Learning to be completely present in the moment and aware of your surroundings is a skill that requires practice and patience. Dealing with an addiction can force you to avoid people and isolate yourself while you continue to indulge your addiction. Training to peacefully live in the moment allows you to confront your disease and overcome the grip it has had on your life.
  • Emotional regulation – This typically includes learning to properly identify the emotions you are experiencing to find effective ways to change them into positive experiences. By identifying the obstacles impacting your addiction and the emotions driving your addictive impulses, you learn to process those feelings in a healthy manner before they result in a relapse.
  • Interpersonal effectiveness – When you are unable to interact with people effectively or maintain healthy relationships, you tend to experience increased stress and conflict. Learning to say “no” when necessary, or to communicate with people to avoid unhealthy relationships and interactions, is vital to achieving a healthier state of mind.

Bad behaviors typically develop when you are trying to cope with bad experiences or negative emotions. For someone struggling with addiction, developing healthier decision patterns and ways of thinking is essential to achieving success in therapy.

By learning to accept yourself and embrace your faults, you begin to heal the emotional scars that have impacted your addictive behaviors for far too long.

Outcomes of DBT: What is the Effectiveness of DBT in Addiction Rehab and Recovery?

Cognitive behavioral treatment and cognitive restructuring are two of the more proven methods of achieving long-term success in addiction treatment and recovery. DBT takes these concepts and introduces effective communication to develop a plan to help you achieve success and provide a clinical guide during your recovery journey.

Recent studies have reinforced the fact that DBT is an effective method of addressing substance addiction by teaching a person to identify and develop the necessary skills to not only achieve sobriety, but to also avoid unnecessary instances of relapse.

The key is to not simply participate in treatment but to engage with your therapist – entrusting them with your emotions to learn better ways of experiencing both the good and bad moments in your life. (1)

Life-Changing Holistic Addiction Recovery and Relapse Prevention at Ranch Creek Recovery

Ranch Creek Recovery offers dialectical behavior therapy from an individualized approach with world-renowned licensed therapists and addiction recovery experts. We are a non-12-step rehab and holistic treatment center where a large component of our treatment programs is focused on cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy.

At Ranch Creek Recovery, our team of treatment experts will work one-on-one with you to create a custom treatment plan that includes therapy sessions and holistic, experiential treatment. This treatment can help you center your mind, body and spirit as you begin to forge your new, sober life.

Learn more about Ranch Creek Recovery, including what we offer and what we treat.

Contact us today.


1) National Center for Biotechnology Information. Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Substance Abusers. Accessed February 12, 2020. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2797106/.