Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) was originally developed to help people fight the symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).
Many patients with BPD also have PTSD, and vice versa.Although people with PTSD and BPD have different symptoms, they have some of the same problems, such as:
- Difficulty in emotional management
- Interpersonal problems
- High risk of impulsive behavior
You will not be surprised, because some researchers have also explored whether DBT can help people with PTSD.
What is DBT?
DBT is considered a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that focuses on changing bad thoughts, behaviors, and beliefs as a way to reduce a person’s BPD symptoms.However, DBT is different from traditional CBT. how? Pass also emphasizes the emotions and thoughts of the recipient. In fact, DBT is one of the first CBT therapies to use mindfulness skills to help achieve this acceptance.
DBT is based on the view that the most important problem for patients with BPD is difficulty in managing their emotions (also known as Mood disorders). Many problem behaviors of BPD patients (for example, deliberate self-harm) are thought to be caused by their emotional management problems.
Emotion management problems stem from a combination of the following factors:
- Biology (e.g. a person’s tendency to experience emotions strongly)
- A childhood environment where emotions are ignored or punished for expressing emotions
Therefore, DBT focuses on improving emotional management problems and the problematic behaviors they cause. The therapists who provide DBT use and teach four different types of skills:
- Mindfulness Meditation Techniques
- Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills
- Pain tolerance
- Emotion regulation skills
Explore the usefulness of DBT for PTSD
The skills used in DBT were originally developed for BPD patients and may also greatly benefit PTSD patients.
Just like people with BPD, people with PTSD have difficulty managing their emotions.They may also have problems with relationships or engage in self-destructive behaviors, such as deliberate self-harm.
To explore whether DBT might be effective for PTSD patients, a team of researchers from the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim, Germany used traditional CBT methods that combine DBT and PTSD treatments, such as exposure.Combination therapy is called DBT-post-traumatic stress disorder.
After three months of treatment, the researchers found that DBT-PTSD significantly reduced women’s PTSD symptoms, including depression and anxiety.In addition, these women’s PTSD symptoms are still improving six weeks after completing treatment, which suggests that they may have learned skills during the study to help them continue to recover from PTSD after treatment.
Why more research is needed
Research on DBT-PTSD is still ongoing, but the completed research shows great promise. More research is needed to explore the comparison of DBT-PTSD with other CBT treatments for PTSD.
A study comparing dialectical behavior therapy for PTSD and cognitive processing therapy (CPT) found that although both brought significant improvements, DBT achieved a significantly higher rate of symptom relief.of
Another study looked at DBT-PTSD treatment options for the treatment of complex PTSD caused by child abuse, and found that the treatment is safe and effective in both inpatient and outpatient settings.of
If you are interested in learning more about DBT, Dr. Marsha Linehan’s Behavioral Tech website provides many resources, including a database of mental health professionals who have received DBT training and can provide DBT.