Dialectal Behavior Therapy (DBT) & Substance Use Disorder Treatment | Promises Behavioral Health

Dialectal Behavior Therapy (DBT) & Substance Use Disorder Treatment

Many of us are unaware of how our thoughts impact how we feel and how we behave. Many people also do not know that we can cultivate more control over our minds and thoughts, which can support our health and well-being. When we allow our minds to run wild, it will, especially for those in recovery. Dialectal Behavior Therapy (DBT) in the treatment of substance use disorder can help us to learn healthy coping skills to navigate emotions and undesirable thoughts. This is an important part of healing from abuse patterns and living a “life worth living”. 

Four Skills Taught in Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is an approach that is commonly used in the treatment of substance use disorder and helps to change the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that are linked to addiction. This approach is also effective in treating anxiety, depression, trauma, eating disorders, and self-harm.


Emotional Regulation:

At times it may feel like there is no escape from your emotions and thoughts. Although it may sound difficult, they can actually be managed once you learn the right tools and skills. Emotional Regulation helps you to recognize and deal with your primary emotions before they spiral into more distressing secondary reactions. 

For example, you can learn to identify and deal with the shame, guilt, worthlessness, and even depression that exists underneath your angry exterior. Learning to recognize your emotions and process them effectively can be done with emotional regulation skills

In dialectical behavior therapy, you will learn how to identify emotions, reduce vulnerability, remove barriers to feeling positive emotions, increase positive emotions, develop mindfulness for emotions without judgment, reduce giving into emotional urges, communicate emotions, develop effective problem solving, and soothe distressing emotions.



This technique helps you stay in the present moment without judgment. It helps free you from impulses and moods that control your decision-making process. Using mindfulness techniques, you can strengthen the “observer” or witnessing part of your mind which ultimately gives you more choices and reduces reactivity. 


Distress Tolerance:

When you are extremely triggered, the use of distress tolerance tools and skills come in handy. While in active addiction, we often use substances, dissociation, or self-isolation to deal with distressing emotions and situations. These coping strategies are not very helpful in the long run and usually cause more damage than good. Distress tolerance skills include distracting yourself until you feel calmer, self-soothing by paying attention to the senses or using relaxation exercises.


Interpersonal Effectiveness:

When you do not have control over your emotions, thoughts, or mood it can be hard to relate to others. It is important to know how you feel and what you want to build healthy connections with others. Interpersonal effectiveness involves developing social skills, healthy boundaries, self-respect, conflict resolution, assertiveness, and listening skills. These can help you navigate and create change in situations while staying true to you.


If you are ready to start your recovery process or want to know more about dialectical behavior therapy for addiction and mental health at Promises Behavioral Health, contact us today at 844 875 5609.

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