Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behaviour therapy, once considered a ground-breaking method for treating borderline personality disorder, has transcended its initial boundaries and proven invaluable for various psychological struggles, including addiction.

Rooted in compassion, acceptance, and profound self-discovery, DBT has revolutionised the field of psychotherapy by combining cognitive-behavioural techniques with mindfulness practices and dialectical principles; this therapeutic modality holds tremendous promise in enabling individuals to lead fulfilling and empowered lives.



What is DBT and how is it helpful in addiction recovery?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) has proven to be an invaluable approach in addiction treatment due to its emphasis on understanding and managing thoughts and emotions, which play a central role in the cycle of addiction. DBT equips individuals with the necessary tools to break free from addiction by addressing these underlying factors.

DBT for addiction incorporates four distinct modules, each targeting personal growth and behavioural change. These modules include:


  • Cultivating present-moment awareness and non-judgemental acceptance regarding addiction.
  • Paying attention to thoughts, feelings, and sensations without being overwhelmed.
  • Developing skills to stay grounded and focused in the present moment whilst accepting the negative effects of addiction.


Emotion regulation…

  • Identifying, understanding, and managing intense emotions.
  • Changing negative thought patterns and practising self-compassion.
  • Engaging in activities that promote positive emotions.


DBT - therapy session


Distress tolerance…

  • Developing techniques to cope with crisis situations and stress, stopping you from substance abuse.
  • Avoiding harmful behaviours and reacting impulsively.
  • Managing distressing emotions without relying on drugs or alcohol.


Interpersonal effectiveness…

  • Building healthy relationships through effective communication.
  • Expressing needs and boundaries clearly and assertively.
  • Listening and responding to others’ needs and boundaries.


DBT - therapy session 2


The Benefits of DBT when overcoming addiction

DBT has proven to be a highly effective approach in addiction rehab, offering numerous benefits that contribute to successful recovery. Here are some of the advantages of incorporating DBT into rehab programmes:

  • Holistic approach to recovery: DBT takes a comprehensive and holistic approach to addiction treatment. It addresses the surface-level symptoms of addiction and delves into the underlying emotional and psychological factors that contribute to substance abuse.
  • Emotional regulation and coping skills: One of the primary benefits of DBT is its emphasis on emotion regulation and coping skills development. Addiction often stems from difficulties in managing emotions, leading individuals to rely on substances as a means of escape or self-medication. Through DBT, individuals in rehab treatment learn practical techniques to identify, understand, and regulate their emotions effectively.
  • Enhanced self-awareness: DBT fosters a deep sense of self-awareness, allowing individuals in rehab to gain insight into their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. This heightened self-awareness enables them to recognise triggers and patterns associated with their addiction, empowering them to make healthier choices and respond proactively to challenges.
  • Reduction in self-destructive behaviours: In addiction rehab, self-destructive behaviours are often deeply ingrained and can hinder progress. DBT’s distress tolerance module provides individuals with practical skills to navigate crises and stressful situations without resorting to drugs or alcohol.
  • Improved relationships: Addiction often strains relationships and creates barriers to healthy connections. The interpersonal effectiveness module of DBT focuses on effective communication, assertiveness, and setting boundaries. By improving interpersonal skills, individuals in rehab can repair damaged relationships, build new support networks, and develop healthier connections that benefit their recovery journey.
  • Long-term relapse prevention: DBT equips individuals with the skills and tools necessary to maintain lasting recovery beyond the confines of rehab. By addressing the underlying factors that contribute to addiction and providing practical strategies for managing emotions and cravings, DBT empowers individuals to navigate real-world challenges with confidence and resilience, reducing the risk of relapse.

Incorporating DBT in addiction rehab brings forth many benefits that contribute to a successful recovery as it provides the emotional tools necessary to break free from addiction.

Get started with DBT today

If you are ready to embark on this transformative journey and embrace the power of DBT, our dedicated team is here to support you. Take that first step towards a brighter future by contacting our team today, and together, we can lay the foundation for a sustainable recovery from addiction.

Frequently asked questions

Does it cost extra to use DBT as part of my rehab programme?
DBT is offered alongside various therapy approaches as part of our rehab treatment programmes at Oasis Bradford without additional cost. Integrating DBT into our comprehensive approach provides individuals with the tools and support needed for lasting recovery and personal transformation.