The Biosocial theory behind DBT suggests that individuals with emotion regulation disorders have a biology that predisposes them to emotional vulnerability. If you know or love someone who seems to have a “thin emotional skin” you know that they often feel things more intensely and that emotional experiences seem to hit harder and last longer than they might for you or others.
People who have difficulty regulating emotions tend to have also experienced an invalidating social environment as a child. This can happen in abusive environments but also can occur in normal, healthy and loving families if the child feels different or misunderstood, or if the environment doesn’t understand the child’s emotional experiences.
Problematic behaviors, frantic urges to escape or avoid, ineffective problem solving, unrealistic decision making, mood-dependent behavior, chronic avoidance, inappropriate emotional displays, inaccurate expression, are all the result of this interaction of biological vulnerability and learned responses.
The solution of DBT solution is a comprehensive re-training of the client to understand their emotions, and also manage them so they can solve problems, make decisions, and generally reach their goals. This is accomplished by individual Behavioral Therapy that is accomplished one on one each week and through Goup Skills Training in Mindfulness Skills, Distress Tolerance Skills, Emotion regulation Skills, and Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills.
The program takes about 1 year and requires a high degree of commitment from clients and their families but has an astounding success rate if done by an experienced, intensively trained DBT Therapist and Skills Trainer.
Melinda Carlisle, M.A.is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and an Advanced Intensively Trained DBT Therapist. Her organization is one of the few Dialectical Behavior Program for Adults in San Jose that meets the stringent requirements set forth by BehavioralTech, Inc. for full fidelity to the treatment model www.behavioraltech.com.
She wants to be a resource for you and for the families and friends of people with difficulty managing emotions. You can build a life worth living. She’ll help you do it.