Fighting Relapse with Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT)

At Bradford Oasis we offer a specialist type of talking therapy that has been proven to be a successful in the treatment of all manner of addictions and their common co-occurring illnesses such as Depression, Anxiety Disorder , Eating Disorders  and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) is also extremely helpful in treating those suffering from a Dual Diagnosis , such as Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder and Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, a type of psychotherapy, was originally developed to treat Borderline Personality Disorder in the 1980’s. It is closely related to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy  (CBT), another recognised and hugely powerful talking therapy that we offer. Over the years it has been found that it successfully treats a number of mental health illnesses, including Addiction to: alcohol , drugs , prescription drugs  and activity/non substance based addictions such as Gambling, Co-dependency  and Sex and Love Addiction.

Our Counsellors and Therapists at Bradford Oasis are qualified and highly experienced in delivering both CBT and DBT. We tailor each therapy delivered according to each individual patient’s treatment needs. The therapy delivered is individualised, ensuring that each patient gains the optimum benefit from the therapy delivered. We want to ensure that each and every one of our patients receive the best in medical care and therapeutic rehabilitation for the duration of their stay. Like CBT, DBT is also very flexible, so we incorporate elements of it into many of our other therapies as part of our comprehensive treatment programme. For example, it can be successfully delivered in a group therapy  environment and also during individual therapy , (one to one) sessions.

Addiction Treatment with Dialectical Behavioural Therapy

DBT works by identifying and challenging the unhelpful and destructive thinking of the addict; the individual is then encouraged to take on a different perspective that positively alters their outlook on life. For example, DBT can challenge and change an unhelpful thought such as “Everyone hates me and my family think I’m a failure as I always let them down” to a more helpful ”I am here because my family want the best for me and so do the staff here. I myself want to get well and overcome my problems and can do this with the help and support of others”. Essentially DBT encourages the individual to abandon their old negative and self-destructive ways of thinking, as it led them to addiction and to a place where addiction became their everything and only thing in life. Through the practical application of DBT, new, healthier thought process can be fostered and the individual learns to challenge and change their own thinking moving forward.

DBT is a solution-based treatment that focuses on the solution of recovery as opposed to the problem of addiction. The more and addict focuses on the problem, the bigger the problem becomes. DBT encourages the individual to focus on the solution, so that the solution becomes the bigger picture. It is highly successful in transforming the foundations of the individual’s cognitive thought processes, making life much more comfortable and bearable for them without the need for alcohol, drugs or destructive behaviours. It greatly aids in the individual’s recovery, and as they learn to apply it to themselves, it will assist them in staying clean, sober and sane a day at a time outside of the treatment environment

How Does DBT Differ from CBT?

DBT and CBT are both types of talking psychotherapy and are closely linked. Both have been developed to identify, challenge and change unhelpful and self-destructive thought processes and behaviours. DBT differs from CBT in that it also focuses the individual on acceptance of him or herself. It encourages self-care, self-compassion, self-worth and self-love. These are often foreign concepts to an individual in addiction, or a newly detoxed and abstinent individual. DBT also places a particular emphasis on the patient/therapist relationship. The therapeutic relationship is then used to assist the individual in focusing on positive change; change that will encourage them to view themselves in a different light to how they normally do. DBT discourages black and white thinking and helps to foster more flexible thinking that encourages acceptance and change. What differentiates the two types of therapy, is the subtle differences in the therapeutic relationship with the therapist/counsellor and the encouragement of self-acceptance. DBT is also a holistic therapy, in that it treats the individual as a whole and not just one singular aspect. Great progress can be made through the application of DBT within a strong therapeutic relationship, and is most effective when used in Individual, one to one therapy.

What Does Dialectical Behavioural Therapy Treat?

DBT has been designed to treat those that struggle to process difficult emotions and suffer from self-destructive, self-harming and negative thought patterns. The theory behind the development of DBT, is that some people feel emotions much more strongly than others. Those suffering from mental health disorders and addiction fall into this category. By using drink and drugs to suppress emotions they feel unable to cope with, they have never learned how to process them effectively. Take away the drink, drugs and addictive behaviour and the individual is left without any coping mechanisms and is highly susceptible to relapse. DBT helps to “right size” emotions and develop healthy strategies for processing and dealing with them. This vastly helps with the improvement of the individual’s quality of life and how they manage it. Behind every emotion felt, there is a thought process responsible; change the thought process and the emotion changes too. DBT helps with challenging thinking and changing it. A good example of how it can help an individual who suffers from a co-occurring illness such as Post Traumatic Stress, is that is helps the individual to process the emotions related to the trauma and then realise that they are alive and safe in the present moment. By bringing their focus back to the here and now, they realise they no longer have to their live in the past or project negatively with expectations, into their future – based on their past negative and traumatic experience(s). With addiction and mental health illnesses, the therapist delivering DBT will encourage the individual to accept responsibility for their own thoughts and actions. This helps them to continue the process once they have left the treatment environment. Through this simple yet greatly effective therapy, freedom from destructive and painful thinking can be achieved.

Encouraging Self-Acceptance, Self-Love and Self-Worth

Through the practical application of Dialectical Behavioural Therapy an individual can learn to understand and accept him or herself exactly as they are. They learn to accept their defects and are able to work on them and also embrace their attributes and allow them to grow and shine through. This dramatically reduces internal conflict and they start to work “with” themselves as oppose to giving themselves a hard time, all the time. The strong therapeutic relationship between counsellor and patient fosters trust and understanding. The patient learns how to forgive themselves and show self-compassion and love when dealing with scenarios and events that they would have used on in the past.

Having no acceptance of oneself or their illness encourages negative beliefs systems and emotions such as shame, guilt, anger and blame. By learning to accept and gain a better understanding of who they are and why they are the way that they are, the individual starts to develop self-compassion, empathy, love, self-forgiveness and motivation to change. Those who suffer from self-destructive mental health illnesses, often blame themselves for the events they have suffered in the past and the way they have dealt with them. Dialectics helps them to recognise that the past cannot be changed, but that they can learn from it as an experience and use it positively as to how they deal with similar events in the future.

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

DBT with Bradford Oasis

Bradford Oasis offers an individualised treatment programme that treats the mind, body and spirit of each of our patients. We combine a number of evidence based powerful and proven addiction and mood disorder treatments, with the focus being on the two most powerful solution focused rehabilitation therapies:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Dialectical Behavioural Therapy

We use these proven treatment methodologies as a foundation for our recovery programmes in treating the following:

  • All Addictions: including alcohol, substance and activity based addictions
  • Eating Disorders
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

We combine CBT and DBT with our other proven addiction and co-occurring illness treatments such as 12 Step , Music Therapy , Art Therapy  and Mindfulness  and Meditation .

On admission, prior to treatment commencing, each patient is carefully assessed by our qualified Doctor, who is experienced in treating physical and mental health conditions. A comprehensive treatment plan is then formed with our therapists and the individual patient. This enables us to gain an understanding of their individual and specific treatment needs and goals. It is important that we work closely with each patient right from the very beginning. We work hard to unearth and resolve the issues underpinning each individual’s addiction and/or illness. Their individual progress is then closely monitored by our staff for the duration of their treatment. The patient’s treatment plan will be regularly reviewed and any new issues unearthed will be addressed. We believe, that it is only by treating the root causes of the individual’s’ illness and personal problems, that addiction, mental health disorders and harmful behaviours can be permanently overcome.

For more information on our rehabilitation treatment programme, or any other aspect of the treatment that we deliver and how we can help you or a loved one to recover, please call and speak to a member of our team, or chat to us LIVE online now!


Don’t waste another day on addiction
Call Now 0203 733 5467
Call Now 0203 733 5467

Call Now 0203 733 5467

Find us
  • Oasis Bradford
    21A Bolling Road
    Bradford, West Yorkshire
    BD4 7BG
    United Kingdom
  • Tel. 0203 733 5467
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