Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a comprehensive, evidence-based treatment that has been shown to help those dealing with depression and other mental health disorders, substance use disorder and a variety of eating disorders. While DBT shares many similarities with other cognitive-behavioral approaches, several critical and unique elements must be in place for the treatment to constitute DBT, according to a report published in the peer-reviewed journal Psychiatry MMC. The study, available on the National Institutes of Health’s website (NIH.gov), defines some of these elements as “serving the five functions of treatment, the biosocial theory and focusing on emotions in treatment, a consistent dialectical philosophy, and mindfulness and acceptance-oriented interventions.”

This evidence-based psychotherapy has its roots in efforts to treat borderline personality disorder, but it has also been shown to be effective in treating women with eating disorders. DBT is a process in which the therapist and patient work with acceptance and change-oriented strategies. This approach was developed by Marsha Linehan, a psychology researcher at the University of Washington, as a modified form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). The goal is to help people increase their emotional and cognitive regulation by learning about the triggers that lead to reactive states and helping to assess which coping skills to apply in the sequence of events, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to help avoid undesired reactions.

DBT combines standard cognitive-behavioral techniques for emotional regulation and reality-testing with concepts of distress tolerance, acceptance, and mindful awareness. The first randomized clinical trial of DBT showed “reduced rates of suicidal gestures, psychiatric hospitalizations, and treatment drop-outs when compared to treatment as usual,” according to “DBT in a Nutshell,” coauthored by Linehan and Linda Dimeff.

The Goals of DBT

DBT aims to help people to:

  • Validate their emotions and behaviors
  • Examine the behaviors and emotions that have a negative impact on their lives
  • Make a conscious effort to bring about positive changes

Through validation, the therapist helps the patient see that their behavior and responses are understandable considering their current life situation.

Our Eating Disorder Treatment Philosophy

The Meadows Ranch combines evidence-based theories of teaching coping and containment skills to do the deeper work to get at the source of the eating disorder so that a person can make a long-lasting recovery-based change.

Get Answers to Your Questions

If you or a loved one would like to know more about eating disorder treatment at The Meadows Ranch, give us a call to speak to one of our trained intake coordinators. We’re here to help.

Call 866-390-5100