What's DBT? You may ask. It's an acronym for Dialectical Behavioral Therapy.
More therapy? You may ask. Haven't you had enough of that?
Not like this. The goal of DBT is to build mastery and create a life worth living. That's literally the mission statement. The first time I heard this, it cleared all of my preconceived notions that it might be some kind of quack invention of psychology to get me to spend more on copayments for something that would just leave me feeling like I needed the next level of help.
Originally, I did not want to go to DBT. My psychiatrist encouraged me to join a local DBT group therapy program and when he told me that it was the leading treatment for BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) I felt shame and resentment. I didn't want to acknowledge that I had BPD, let alone be in a room full of other people I'd personally deemed 'crazy' and 'inherently manipulative' for years. It was already a huge blow to receive the BPD diagnosis, but actively seeking help for it meant additionally accepting the diagnosis.
During my intake session, I deliberately acted like a belligerent five year-old so that I couldn't be placed in the program, but between my theatrics and a series of diagnostics, I was diagnosed by a second professional and offered a spot in the program. I looked at my stats on all of the charts that gave rankings on my mental well-being and the only issue I didn't have was social anxiety. Every other issue you could map, especially ideation, was there. I looked at the scars on my body, I remembered how much my psychosis was making my mother sick to her stomach, and agreed to join the program.
The single most damaging and notable characteristic of BPD is 'black and white thinking'. In DBT, we counter this using 'Wise Mind', a concept where we pull ourselves together for several minutes of mindful breathing and then actively remind ourselves to make decisions that are 'in the middle' - not just fact-based but not just emotion-based.
This is without a doubt the most difficult therapy I've ever withgone because it requires that you truly take the skills from those 90-minute classes home with you and apply them to your life. But in nine weeks, I've learned to respect myself, build a toolkit for when my mind is under attack, and more. And studies are showing that DBT is effective for depression, anxiety, OCD, eating disorders, PTSD, and other maladies of the mind.
If you are really struggling today, do a google search. Three letters. You're a human being, and you're the one who's going to have to do the work if you so choose, so none of it will be perfect. But I guarantee that if you are one of the millions of people struggling with malady, at least one of the four components of DBT can do something for you.