Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): a Cognitive Behavioral Approach

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): a Cognitive Behavioral Approach

By: Jasmyn Cuate

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a combination of cognitive and behavior therapy, supported by empirical-based evidence that teaches patients skills to cope with and change unhealthy behaviors. The main goals of DBT are to teach people how to live in the moment, develop healthy ways to cope with stress, regulate their emotions, and improve their relationships with others.

DBT focuses on four key areas in therapeutic skills:

  • Mindfulness: focuses on improving your ability to accept and be present in the current moment, helping you use healthy coping skills instead of using negative impulsive behaviors
  • Distress tolerance: teaches you how to feel intense emotions without reacting impulsively or using self-injury or substance abuse to escape from it. Helping you prepare for intense emotions and cope with a more positive long-term outlook
  • Emotion regulation: teaches you how to identify, label, and change your emotions without judging them– learning how your emotions shape your behavior and what obstacles prevent you from managing your emotions, reducing your emotional vulnerability and helps you have more positive emotional experiences
  • Interpersonal effectiveness: allows you to communicate more effectively with others, become more assertive, maintain self-respect and respect for others, while keeping a relationship positive and healthy

DBT goes through a multistage approach where the therapist first treats the patient’s most self-destructive behavior followed by the therapist addressing quality-of-life skills, then focus on improving the patient’s relationships and self-esteem, with the last stage focusing on promoting more joy and relationship connections. Standard comprehensive DBT is often used in the following settings:

  • Individual therapy: with a trained professional, you learn how to apply DBT skills to specific challenges and situations in your life­– patients agree to do homework to practice new skills and fill out diary cards which are completed daily to keep track of their emotions, urges, behaviors, and skills used throughout the week and brought to weekly sessions for the therapist and client to discuss and see if there’s progress being made. Diary cards are designed to record instances of target behaviors, thoughts and urges, and the use of behavioral skills client’s applied to cope with the problem
  • Group skills training: patients have the opportunity to role-play new behavioral skills and interact with others
  • Phone coaching: with DBT, your therapist is available by the phone for in-the-moment support between sessions if you’re in a difficult situation and need guidance

While your therapist works with you through the DBT approach, it can be challenging to stay motivated. Therefore, therapists have consultation groups,which are a group of professionals who met regularly helping one another to navigate potential stressors, monitor their devotion to treatment, develop and increase their skills, and sustain their motivation to work with high-risk, difficult-to-treat clients.

DBT was developed by Marsha Linehan, originally intended to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD) and suicidal behaviors but has been modified to treat other mental health conditions and have been effective in treating:

  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Substance use or impulsive behaviors
  • Eating disorders
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) or suicidal behavior
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Overall, DBT offers validation for patients, helping them understand their actions within the context of their personal experiences without necessarily agreeing that their actions are the best approach to solving a problem. This helps patients become more likely to cooperate and work towards self-acceptance and change. The best way to find out if DBT is right for you is to talk with a professional. They will evaluate your symptoms, treatment history, and therapy goals to see if DBT is the best treatment option for you.

If you or someone you know is seeking for dialectical behavior therapy, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources: https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/dialectical-behavioral-therapy https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapy-types/dialectical-behavior-therapy



Shopping Addiction

By: Deanna Damaso

Shopping Addiction is a behavioral addiction where a person buys items compulsively or a specific item repeatedly as an attempt to relieve stress. Those suffering with a shopping addiction spend more time shopping than doing other activities because of their uncontrollable urges to spend money.

The joy of shopping has a direct effect on the brain’s pleasure centers by flooding the brain with endorphins and dopamine. The buyer gets a short-lived “shopping high” from making frequent shopping trips, buying large items, or expensive purchases. However, after a couple hours, the dopamine recedes and the shopper is left with an empty, unsatisfied feeling. This can lead to hoarding, depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. If left untreated, compulsive buyers could go deeper into debt and turn to stealing.

Some signs of a shopping addiction often include:

  • Spending more money than anticipated
  • Compulsive purchases
  • Chronic spending when angry, anxious, or depressed
  • Lying about the problem
  • Broken relationships
  • Ignoring the consequences of spending money

Financial therapy is effective in teaching how to manage finances and shop more responsibly. Cognitive and behavioral therapies are effective treatments that identify and improve the negative thoughts and behaviors surrounding the addiction. Medications can be prescribed to those who struggle with both the addiction and other mental health issues. This combination treatment helps relieve symptoms to assist in recovery.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a shopping addiction, Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. Contact us in Paramus, NJ at 201-368-3700 or in Manhattan, NY at 212-996-3939 to arrange an appointment. For more information about our services, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/





Hypnosis: What is it and how is it beneficial?

Alice Cordero

Hypnosis has almost always been portrayed in movies and books as an individual entering a sleep-like trance. Once the individual enters this state of “unconsciousness” he/ she unravels their truth, and shortly after awaken completely unaware that a session took place. It’s important for the general public to understand that this connotation of hypnosis is inaccurate.

Hypnosis by definition is a trance like state where you have heightened suggestibility and are fully conscious and alert. During a session the individual is fully focused, responsive, and less skeptical. The goal of hypnosis is to get the individual into a state of relaxation where the worrisome thoughts and experiences have subsided.

Hypnosis can be helpful for conditions including: chronic pain, stress, anxiety, sleep disorders, depression, grief, symptoms of dementia, ADHD, skin conditions, and behavior disorders like smoking, and nail-biting. It’s important to remember that during hypnosis the individual is always in control throughout the process. Although the therapist provides the patient with guidance throughout the session, the patient is always the main one in charge.

Some of the major benefits of hypnosis over the years include: losing weight, leaving bad habits, overcoming negative emotions, overcoming insomnia, and even improving daily life activities.

If you or someone you know is suffering from any of the conditions listed above or think they could generally benefit from hypnosis, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Hypochondria: Somatic Symptom Disorder

Alice Cordero

A condition once called Hypochondria now falls under the name Somatic Symptom Disorder. Somatic Symptom Disorder is characterized as extreme focus on physical symptoms. When one places extreme focus on physical symptoms – such as fatigue and pain- the individual usually experiences emotional distress and problems functioning in their daily lives.

Those diagnosed with somatic symptom or hypochondriasis disorder often consider the worst case scenarios about their symptoms, which often leads the individual to frequently seek medical care. The individual’s health concerns become such a crucial focus in their life that they in fact become disabled.

Symptoms of somatic symptom disorder may include:

  • Sensations in a specific area ( whether that be shortness of breath or pain) or more general sensations, like weakness and fatigue
  • Excessive thoughts, feelings, behaviors and worrying
  • Checking the body repeatedly for any sort of abnormalities

When one is diagnosed with somatic symptom disorder it is important to keep a positive outlook, because stress and negativity pave the way for the development of symptoms. Those with a history of substance abuse and high levels of sensitivity to pain are commonly seen with this condition.  Anxiety, depression, and OCD are conditions that are often diagnosed as accompanying somatic symptom disorder.

For somatic symptom disorder treatment normally involves cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness- based therapy, and medication such as antidepressants. With the proper treatment research has revealed that recovery is possible using the proper strategies to eliminate as much pain as possible.

If you or a loved one appears to be suffering from Somatic Symptom Disorder (Hypochondriasis), the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, visit us at http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Conduct Disorder

Conduct Disorder

By: Leah Flanzman

Conduct disorder is a behavioral disorder seen in children who display behaviors that deviate from societal norms and violate a number of social rules. Conduct disorder will typically present itself before the age of 16, and can have both genetic and environmental influences. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (DSM IV-TR), this disorder is being increasingly diagnosed in more and more children throughout the United States. In the past few years, prevalence rates of children exhibiting symptoms of conduct disorder skyrocketed to as high as 10%.

Conduct disorder is typically divided into two types, childhood onset and adolescent onset, which are distinguished from one another by the age at which symptoms begin appearing. Childhood onset conduct disorder is diagnosed before 10 years of age, and adolescent onset is diagnosed if the symptoms arise after 10 years of age. Childhood onset is believed to be the more serious condition between the two and more resistant to treatment

The symptoms of conduct disorder can be broken down into four main categories. A child or adolescent is likely to have conduct disorder if they consistently display aggressive conduct, deceitful behavior, destructive behavior, or a violation of rules. Examples of aggressive conduct can include intimidating or bullying other children, physically harming people or animals with malicious intentions, or using a weapon. Deceitful behavior can be seen through lying, stealing, or breaking and entering.   Individuals will display destructive behaviors by intentionally destroying or vandalizing properties, and individuals will violate rules by skipping school, running away, or prematurely abusing drugs and alcohol.

A distinction lies in how the symptoms of conduct disorder are manifested between the genders, as it is more frequently diagnosed in boys. Boys are more likely to fight, steal, vandalize school property, and break school rules, whereas girls are more likely to lie, run away from home, use drugs, and engage in early sexual activity. Conduct disorder is unique in the fact that it is not always recognized as a mental illness, so treatment is commonly neglected. Early intervention for Conduct Disorder yields the greatest possibility for an improved long-term outcome so if symptoms begin to arise, seeking help immediately can be extremely beneficial.

If you or a person you know is struggling with conduct disorder, it may be beneficial to have them contact a mental health professional and receive therapy for their illnesses. The psychologists, psychiatrists, and therapists at Arista Counseling and Psychiatric Services can help.  Contact the Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920.  Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.