Frequently Asked Questions
What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)?
DBT was developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan, PhD to originally treat people with intense emotional swings, chaotic interpersonal relationships, impulsiveness, and suicidal / self-harm behaviors. It is based on the biosocial theory that problems develop from an interaction between biological factors and environmental factors and on the idea that opposites can coexist and be synthesized. The ultimate goal is to live a life worth living in which the person feels connection to others and the world. The DBT therapist balances empathy and warm acceptance with a focus on teaching you ways to change behaviors that are not effective. DBT is now also being used to successfully treat symptoms of anxiety, PTSD, depression, eating disorders, difficulties managing emotions, bipolar disorder, ADHD, substance use and addictions, adolescents and children with difficulty managing emotions, and other conditions that involve intense emotions and impulsive behaviors. DBT and the emphasis on Mindfulness is also very useful in managing stress.
DBT is backed by significant research that shows it is an effective therapy with techniques that work. Those in DBT typically have decreased use of emergency room and crisis services, and decreased rates of suicidal gestures.
A comprehensive DBT program consists of weekly individual sessions with between-session phone coaching and a weekly skills training class. (Sometimes referred to as a DBT group.) Once behaviors are able to be managed by the person in treatment, other stages of treatment may include expressing emotions more effectively, building a Life Worth Living, and developing satisfying connections to others and the world. Treatment can include targeted treatment for PTSD symptoms, advanced Mindfulness instruction, or focus on anger management strategies. Also included is education and support for family members. Partners, parents, significant others of those in our program are highly encouraged to also learn the skills and receive support and education on how to reinforce effective behaviors at home. A Comprehensive DBT program also means that your therapist will be meeting at least once per week with other Transformation Behavioral Health DBT therapists to coordinate your care.
Our Linehan Board of Certification seal indicates that we are committed to providing a DBT program that is adherent to the model of care that is backed by significant research. We have met national standards of training, testing, and competency and provide the type of DBT that is supported by research.
If you are interested in participating in our DBT program, or learning more about this treatment, call us and we will schedule an intake appointment to discuss the most effective treatment options for you.
What is Depression? How do we treat it?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is recognized as the gold standard for treating depression.
What is Anxiety? How do we treat it?
Anxiety is a sense of worry and unease, often used to protect us from harm. It is an essential part of human survival. For example, the feeling of unease that may accompany walking near a cliff or being alone at night in an alley. The unease or outright fear that accompanies the experience motivates us to find a safe space. Although the feelings are unpleasant, they are beneficial.
Anxiety becomes a problem in our lives when it becomes excessive, unwanted, and interferes with our ability to function normally in our life. Anxiety disorders take many different forms, and the impact it has on us as individuals varies greatly. Some of the common anxiety disorders that we see are listed below.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): People with GAD excessively worry about several aspects of their life such as school, work, performance, finances, family, etc. This constant worrying makes people feel restless, tired, and/or irritable. They often find that they have difficulty concentrating on their work, and often have muscle aches or difficulty sleeping. The excessive anxiety leads to distress and/or difficulty functioning in school, work, or other areas of daily life.
Panic Disorder: People with panic disorder experience sudden panic attacks. These attacks present suddenly and may consist of intense fear, sweating, shaking, chest pain, shortness of breath, fear of dying, or feeling detached. These attacks are distressing and many people begin to fear future attacks to the point that they fear losing control and avoid places where they may not be able to escape if another attack happens.
Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD): People with social anxiety fear a variety of social situations, which often arises from a fear of being evaluated or judged by others. Some people fear meeting new people, being observed, being in crowds, speaking in class, reading aloud, and/or presenting in meetings. People with SAD have a fear of others noticing their anxiety and subsequently judging them. People begin to avoid situations which cause them anxiety, which disrupts activities of their daily lives.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): PTSD develops after a traumatic event. A person may develop PTSD after experiencing a trauma firsthand, witnessing a trauma, learning about a trauma, or repeatedly experiencing, witnessing, or hearing about trauma. People with PTSD may experience flashbacks in which the person feels as though they are reliving the trauma, may have recurrent dreams about the trauma that are distressing, and may feel distressed mentally and physically when they encounter something that reminds them of the trauma. Many people often find themselves irritable, hypervigilant, and detached from other people.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): People with OCD have obsessive thoughts and/or accompanying compulsions. For example, a person may have repetitive and intrusive thoughts about their house burning down (obsession) if they do not repeatedly check that the stove is off (compulsion). The compulsion of checking the stove relieves the anxiety caused by the obsession about the house burning down. The person may know that the stove does not magically turn itself on, but the obsession remains distressing and the compulsion may significantly disrupt a person’s life.
Agoraphobia: People with agoraphobia may fear a variety of places or situations such as open spaces, closed spaces, crowds, public transportation, or even any place outside of their house. People fear venturing into these spaces for a variety of reasons, but often fear an inability to escape if something bad happens.
Substance/Medication-Induced Anxiety Disorder: Medications prescribed by healthcare providers, legal substances such as caffeine, illicit substances, and drug and alcohol withdrawal can all elicit anxiety. Substances and medications may be the main cause of the anxiety or it may be contributing to an underlying anxiety disorder. Your therapist and other health care providers can help you determine factors contributing to your anxiety.
Is there anything to make my anxiety better?
Treatment for your anxiety disorder will vary depending on your unique needs. We work with you to come up with a therapy plan that works best for you and the treatment of your disorder. We use a variety of approaches such as mindfulness, cognitive behavioral therapy, prolonged exposure, interpersonal psychotherapy, supportive psychotherapy, or a combination of therapies.
Some people need medications in combination with psychotherapy to help them cope with anxiety. With your permission, we are happy to communicate with other members of your healthcare team responsible for prescribing those medications.
I've never been to therapy before. I don't want to tell anyone about me.
Congratulations on having the courage and dedication to improve your life! Sometimes it's easy to start therapy and for some people, it takes a lot to make that first call, and even more to walk in the door. We value everyone's safety and confidentiality above all else. Our offices are specially designed so that your conversations stay in the therapy room.
I'm a professional. I should be able to handle everything on my own.
As a professional, you handle a lot. You often share in carrying the burdens of others. It is common for people in professional occupations to experience times of feeling weighted down, wondering if you can keep going, feeling like everyone (at home and work) wants something from you, thinking it's impossible to manage everything you're being asked to do. You might think the last thing you need is another appointment. A therapy appointment might be the first thing you need! Taking care of yourself is critical. As professionals ourselves, we understand the importance of self-care and the risks of burnout. It is likely that we have shared similar experiences. Therapy can help you to become more centered and less stressed. You will learn to not judge yourself and to enoy your life and your profession more.