Emotional overwhelm, fears of abandonment, significant trauma: Could DBT therapy be for you?

Emotional overwhelm, fears of abandonment, significant trauma: Could DBT therapy be for you? Photo by Nik Shuliahin 💛💙 on Unsplash

If you are someone who sometimes feels overwhelmed by emotion, struggles with fears of abandonment or who has experienced significant trauma in your life, DBT therapy or Dialectical Behavioural Therapy is a helpful option to explore with your therapist.  

DBT is a set of concrete, practical skills designed to assist people who struggle with managing their emotions, or who experience difficulty with interpersonal relationships.

I have found that Dialectical Behavioural Therapy can also be beneficial for people who have experienced trauma as a result of difficult or abusive interpersonal relationships. 

How does DBT Therapy work?

DBT therapy might be different to other forms of therapy you have tried because it takes a holistic approach to managing overwhelming emotions, developing assertiveness skills and emotional intelligence, and in teaching you how to practice self-compassion in a practical and collaborative way. 

If I could share one tip with you if you’re thinking of seeking DBT treatment, it would be to maintain an open, and willing attitude. 

At its core, DBT is a therapy that is about collaborating with your therapist in a space that encourages reflection, growth and practical skills. 

This sometimes means a willingness to feel complex emotions and to sit with painful situations. 

It also involves practicing the skills you have been learning outside of therapy. 

A skilled therapist is aware that this takes courage and vulnerability. Which is why we work with you at your own pace as you master the skills of DBT.  

How to get the most out of DBT therapy

Here are some further ideas for engaging effectively with DBT therapy:

  • Be patient with yourself. Some skills are easier to master than others. 
  • Be open with your therapist. All good therapy should be collaborative. Your therapist is open to hearing what is a struggle for you and walking alongside you in the journey. 
  • Seek help outside of the therapy room if you are really struggling. Often the first element of DBT is working with the client to come up with a plan to remain safe and minimise harm in the event that you are self harming or experiencing high distress. Don’t be afraid to fall back on these safety plans when required. 
  • Be kind to yourself. At it’s core DBT is about self compassion. This means developing patience when you are finding it difficult. 

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