Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, or DBT for short, is commonly used to treat complex mental health issues like suicidal thoughts and behaviours, Borderline Personality Disorder, and more recently, substance misuse issues with young people.
What is DBT?
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, or DBT for short, is commonly used to treat complex mental health issues like suicidal thoughts and behaviours and Borderline Personality Disorder.
In more recent times, its use has been extended to treat substance misuse issues amongst young people.
The therapy takes a multi-pronged approach, blending mindfulness and meditation with Cognitive Behaviourial Therapy (CBT), interpersonal skills training to promote healthier relationships, managing emotions and distress tolerance.
How does Triple Care Farm use DBT?
Triple Care Farm uses DBT in a holistic way. All staff members have DBT training, including life skills trainers, youth workers, case managers and even sport and recreation workers.
DBT is integrated into the program in diverse ways, including: roleplays, practising present moment awareness in conversations, learning to cook and even playing Celebrity Heads. As Ms. Green says: “We try to make it fun.”
In this video, Ms. Green explains how Triple Care Farm encorporates DBT into all aspects of its program.
What does a young person's Treatment Plan at the Farm look like?
More traditional DBT methods are also used on the Farm, such as mandatory groups and optional one-on-one sessions with a counsellor.
Young people can regularly meet with their chosen counsellor, and integrate other therapies like art therapy and motivational interviewing.
DBT is also taught in skills training workshop, for example, distress tolerance training when a student is struggling with filling out a Maths workbook.
Why does DBT work well with addiction?
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy is all about ‘wiring a new routine into the brain. It’s an opportunity to choose a different way to behave to triggers.’
This is why DBT is particularly effective in treating addiction.
By focussing on mindfulness and the present moment, young people learn to “ride the wave” of their urges.
In the accompanying video, Ms. Green explains why DBT is effective in treating addiction.
DBT Resources and Tips
If it sounds like DBT could help you or a loved one struggling with addiction, there is a wealth of information out there; you aren’t alone.
Ms. Green cites the following handy online resources for DBT:
Behavioral Tech- general info about DBT
Project Air Strategy- the peak organisation for personality disorders, based in Wollongong
The Smiling Mind- modern meditation and mindfulness tracks
Also watch this space for TCF’s own worksheets, relaxation audio tracks and mindfulness scripts.
-Talking with your GP about getting a mental health care plan and a referral to a psychologist.
-Making time with family or friends to have an open, honest discussion about values, and doing things together that allow young people to live out those values and build resilience.