Mindfulness therapy has become one of the most popular methods of treating stress in the twenty-first century. This ancient practice has shown impressive results, having been brought into modern psychology by people like Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Recently, a therapy module called dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) has become the primary treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and certain mood disorders. DBT is closely linked with mindfulness therapy. But what part does mindfulness therapy play in DBT?
Mindfulness is actually at the core of DBT. With a brief explanation of what DBT is, we can begin to understand why.
What is DBT?
Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) is a type of therapy that places an emphasis on balance. Instead of trying to rid oneself of certain emotions and thoughts, one seeks a way to regulate them. Managing emotions is key to DBT.
DBT was originally designed as a treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Patients with BPD struggle to regulate their emotions. One of the major symptoms of this disorder is major mood swings. To effectively treat BPD, it is therefore crucial to learn to pause before reacting to strong emotions.
This is where mindfulness therapy comes in.
Mindfulness Therapy in DBT
DBT utilizes a number of techniques found in modern psychological treatments like CBT. However, it is based upon a foundation of mindfulness. This is because mindfulness is all about non-reactivity.
Mindfulness therapy does not downplay the importance of emotions in the human experience. Rather, it pinpoints their importance. Emotions help us connect to the world and are sometimes crucial for knowing how to react to situations. But they are not based upon facts. It is therefore not necessary to react to every emotion. The fact that you are feeling fearful does not mean that there is any real danger around.
Mindfulness techniques teach us how to experience emotions in the moment. Most of the time, we either try to hold onto emotions or push them away. By experiencing them as they come, we benefit from them without being driven by them. We give ourselves the opportunity to make rational decisions instead.
DBT places importance on the balance between emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. By using mindfulness, it gives individuals a way of standing in their full power, able to experience themselves with wholeness and choose their paths in life with patience and care.
Mindfulness therapy is becoming a fundamental part of many Western therapies. DBT is currently one of the most prominent and has been proven effective time and time again.