Dialectical behavior therapy is an intensive and highly structured form of therapy that helps clients who struggle with stress, difficult situations, or conflict with others. Beaches Recovery provides a comprehensive approach to overcoming chemical dependency, alcoholism, and co-occurring disorders. 

Many clients come to Beaches Recovery with mental health concerns in addition to their chemical dependency. To that end, Beaches Recovery has therapists specially trained in dialectical behavior therapy or DBT to improve emotional stability, decrease depressive and anxious symptoms, and improve self-esteem. 

To find out more about our DBT program, contact us today. At Beaches Recovery, healing begins here.

What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

DBT is a multi-stage treatment method that teaches important skills to clients dealing with mental disorders and/or a struggle with addiction. Clients who come to our Jacksonville FL drug rehab center can greatly benefit from the four different components, the various treatment stages of DBT, and the key skills it teaches.

If you or someone you love is planning to break free from addiction, including DBT may be an integral component for success. Your therapists can work with you to develop a treatment plan that includes DBT and other forms of therapy that are similar to cognitive behavioral therapy.

How DBT Works

Dialectical behavior therapy teaches skills, enhancing the capability of clients to improve their regulation of emotion, tolerance of distress, and ability to be mindful and present in the moment. It is a therapeutic method that ultimately improves a client’s communication of their wants, needs, and feeling while simultaneously giving them the tools to interact with others without turning to drugs and alcohol appropriately.

Usually conducted one-on-one, DBT is an addiction therapy method that is based on psychosocial aspects. This form of therapy operates on the idea that some people react strongly to certain stimuli or emotions and become overwhelmed. These people may be those that see the world in black and white, and they are often the same people who struggle with addiction. By learning the dialectical approach, that is, the balancing of opposing ideas or opposites, individuals move past their all-or-nothing style of thinking. In dialectical behavior therapy, clients learn to see beyond mere either-or dualistic thinking and embrace a both-and approach. Clients learn in DBT to accept themselves and understand that flaws do not define a person. At the same time, the therapy tries to help clients find constructive ways to improve their lives and acknowledge that change needs to occur for them to reach their goals.

Generally speaking, there are four components to dialectical behavior therapy: mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulations, and distress tolerance. All of these components work together to improving a client’s condition. While at certain stages of drug and alcohol detox and addiction treatment, one component may be more emphasized than others, throughout treatment, the four build on and strengthen each other. This gives clients a comprehensive understanding of themselves and the techniques they develop alongside their therapist and peers to change their behavior for the better. Thus, understanding each component gives a sense of what DBT has to offer:


This is at the center of DBT. Clients learn how to practice mindfulness, that is, being focused on the present, the here and now, instead of obsessing over the future. Quite simply, being overly concerned with the future leads to inaction in the present. Similarly, ruminating on the past which cannot be changed hampers making a change at the moment. Mindfulness practice includes meditation, but there are lots of ways to practice and gain control over your mind.

Interpersonal Effectiveness

Navigating difficult interpersonal situations requires learning effective skills. This is true for anyone regardless of whether they struggle with substance use disorder or mental health issues. In this portion of DBT, clients learn how to modulate the intensity with which they assert themselves. Thus, they work on mastering when it is appropriate and necessary to release or respond emotionally and with empathy or compassion for another. Clients learn how to assert themselves in healthy ways to maintain and improve their self-respect. 

The Emotion Regulation

Specifically, this component deals with learning ways to manage emotions in different types of situations. Identifying feelings, determining how to align them appropriately, and, importantly, how to cope when you are unable to do so. 

In Distress Tolerance

Discovering how to handle stressful or triggering situations is a key component in any recovery therapy. Here clients master the tools and techniques to calm themselves when overwhelmed, manage ongoing stressful situations, and when and how to deploy problem-solving skills. 

DBT begins by prioritizing the various targets for therapy. The main objective is to eliminate life-threatening behaviors, which could includesubstance abuse or thoughts of suicide. The secondary objective is eliminating behaviors that interfere with treatment, and the tertiary objective is addressing behavior that might be limiting a client’s overall quality of life.



What You Will Cover During DBT Sessions

DBT is a highly-engaging form of talk therapy, where you work with your therapist to address specific issues related to your addiction. These issues may include mental health disorderssuch as anxiety, depression, or borderline personality disorder. You will cover different areas, including:

AAA Model – Awareness, Acceptance, Action
Emotion regulation
Mindfulness Skills
Self-Soothing techniques
Problem Solving
Behavior analysis

You may also cover areas such as distress tolerance, SMART goals, or interpersonal skills. Within dialectical behavior therapy, clients can partake in several different methods of treatment. For instance, programs frequently offer:

Group Skills

Coping skills don’t just appear. Often, the best way to discover and develop new capabilities is alongside others struggling with similar issues. Group sessions are run like a standard class involving active participation and even homework assignments. 

Individual Therapy

Perhaps the most common method of treatment within dialectical behavior therapy is individual talk therapy. Here clients work with their therapist examining motivations and exploring ways to respond and deal with everyday life situations that may be challenging. Often, in these sessions, clients discover their triggers and how the issues are connected.

Phone Coaching

At some facilities, when clients are in an intensive outpatient program or have moved into aftercare, phone coaching can be an effective method of continuing care. With access to guidance on how to use their new skills in challenging or triggering situations, clients can keep their recovery going.

Team Consultations

Combining the benefits of group and individual treatment, a therapist consultation team is a superb way to help clients with complex disorders. Bringing the expertise of several experienced and committed therapists give clients the best treatment possible.

Whether a client engages in all or some of these methods, they’ll still get the full benefits of our dialectical behavior therapy. Thus, they will progress through their addiction treatment programs, becoming more confident and healthy, able to make the right decisions at the right time knowing they have learned the necessary skills, and have support behind them.

The Four Stages of DBT

To be most effective, dialectical behavior therapy isdivided into four stages. Clients work their way through each stage to tackle their addictions and live the life they should be enjoying. The four stages of DBT are:

Stage 1

Addressing self-destructive behaviors such as substance abuse or self-harm, this stage identifies and confronts these issues. By doing so, the client works towards gaining control of their behaviors.

Stage 2

Learning to manage destructive behaviors. After gaining some control over their behaviors, clients focus their attention on their emotions. By allowing themselves to fully experience the underlying motivations for their actions, clients properly confront their feelings and decision making.

Stage 3

Creating goals that lead to a peaceful, happy life. In conjunction with their therapist, clients articulate and define their goals. These can be simple, pragmatic goals or broader life goals. The point is to develop healthy assertions, practical plans, and fostering self-respect.

Stage 4

Finding meaning in life beyond destructive behavior and addiction. For some clients, there is a deep, abiding need to feel and be connected to something greater. Each client needs to determine what this deeper meaning is for themselves. But, overall, clients work to build themselves up to dispel the incompleteness they felt abusing substances.

How you progress through each stage depends on the levels of your addiction and your recovery goals. Your therapist can guide you through each stage of therapy.

I am a hard headed alcoholic drug addict who was near death. Coming to Beaches and following their program was one of the wisest things I have done in my life. Addiction is very misunderstood and hard to deal with. Beaches Recovery was, and is, capable of stopping the deadly cycle and setting someone up for success.

The housing is nicer than anywhere Ive ever lived. More importantly, the staff are what really makes the place shine. They genuinely care and want to help people with substance abuse of any kind recover.

If it worked for me, saved my life, then it can work for anyone.

-Tam A.

Learn More About Dialectical Behavior Therapy at Beaches Recovery

Dialectical behavior therapy has been shown to effectively help individuals struggling with depression, eating disorders like bulimia or anorexia, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and substance use disorder. If you are looking for a truly innovative way to end addiction to drugs or alcohol, then contact Beach Recovery. We offer dialectical behavior therapy and other types of treatment for substance abuse. At Beaches, we’ve designed substance abuse treatment programs to meet the needs of clients from all sorts of areas. For example, our compassionate experts offer:

Men’s and Women’s Addiction Rehab
College Student Drug Rehab
Discreet Executive Drug Detox
First Responder Drug Rehab
Fresh Start DUI Program

Using dialectical behavior therapy alongside several other proven evidenced-based and clinical approaches, clients can heal and make a lasting recovery with us. Tofind out more about your treatment options, call 866.605.0532. At Beaches Recovery, healing begins here.