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DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy) counseling
in marietta, georgia

Do you feel anxious? Do you feel depressed? Are your worries taking over and you feel stuck in fear? Does it sometimes feel like you are out of control and/or cannot seem to gain control over your emotions? Are you coping with these feelings in ways that aren’t healthy? Does your spouse struggle to be close to you when you are feeling out of control? Does your adolescent seem to have big feelings they cannot control? Is your teen out of control emotionally? 


We can help. At Maverick Marriage Therapy, we understand the impact that emotions can have on your life and your relationships. When emotions are not managed well, they can create a feeling of chaos inside and can cause symptoms of anxiety and depression. Feeling out of control or feeling chaotic can be terrifying. We get it and that’s why it is so important to address it. Whether it’s yourself, your spouse, your adolescent, or your teen, we can help through evidenced based techniques using Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). 


DBT focuses on helping individuals understand their emotions, accept the realities of life, and their behaviors, in addition to assisting with changing their unhelpful behaviors.


*DBT is a type of talk therapy for people who experience emotions intensely and was developed by Marsha Lineman in the 1970s. 

DBT is effective for individuals and couples!
Specifically, people who have difficulty managing and regulating their emotions benefit from DBT to improve their life overall and to improve their relationships.

Many individuals participating in couples counseling and marriage therapy utilize skills from DBT to assist in regulating their emotions and resolving conflict. DBT has been proven to be successful for treating and managing the following mental health conditions:

  • Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

  • Depression

  • Anxiety 

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

  • Self-harm

  • Suicidal thoughts

  • Substance Use Disorder

  • Eating Disorders

Who would benefit from DBT?

Image by Dev Asangbam

Others who benefit include those diagnosed with ADD or ADHD. Often times, those who have experienced trauma benefit greatly from DBT as well. DBT is effective for treating issues that result from unhealthy coping skills to control intense, negative emotions and thus, DBT assists clients with learning healthier ways to cope. 

How does DBT work? 

Therapists who utilize DBT seek to understand their clients emotionally and provide a balance of validation or acceptance of who they are, their life challenges, and the benefits of learning how to respond differently. A DBT therapist helps clients learn new skills to improve emotion regulation. 


The structure of DBT can differ based on therapeutic approach, but typically involves as assessment, individual therapy, and possibly some group work. 

The skills DBT specifically helps people develop to cope with emotional distress are the following four core skills: 


  • Mindfulness 

  • Distress Tolerance 

  • Emotion Regulation

  • Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills 

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is about being aware of and accepting what you are feeling, thinking, experiencing, or what is happening right now. Being present can help you lean to acknowledge and accept your feelings and thoughts without any judgement. 


Specifically DBT teaches “what” skills and “how” skills, which both help to be more mindful. “What” skills teach you to notice what you are focused on, which could be the present moment, your emotions, thoughts, and bodily sensations, and to separate your emotions and sensations from your thoughts. “How” skills help you to balance rational thoughts and emotions. DBT teaches the use of “radical acceptance” to learn to accept different parts of yourself, as long as you are not hurting yourself or anyone else. “How” skills also help you to take action, use mindfulness skills consistently, and overcome things that make mindfulness a challenge, such as doubt, sleepiness, and restlessness. 

What is Distress Tolerance?

When practicing mindfulness, we can become really aware, but in moments of crisis people need another skill. It is typical to cope with strategies like avoidance, catastrophizing, self-isolation, maximizing when feeling distressed. Although these may help you feel better momentarily, they are not sustainable solutions for your emotions. Distress Tolerance helps us cope with healthy strategies to deal with our emotions during these chaotic moments.

Distress Tolerance skills seek to help you: 

  • Self-sooth by relaxing your body

  • Distract yourself with something positive until you are no longer in distress and your emotions have settled down

  • Find strategies or skills to improve the moment, despite the feeling of pain

What is Interpersonal Effectiveness?

When we experience mood changes and intense feelings, relational skills like empathy, vulnerability, and accountability are difficult to achieve. Awareness of your own feelings and desires is essential for building satisfying relationships. Skills to help you become clear on these things are very helpful. 

Built on listening skills, social skills, and assertiveness trying these skills include: 


  • Objective Effectiveness - learning how to ask for what you want and take steps to get it

  • Interpersonal Effectiveness - learning how to work through conflict and challenges in relationships

  • Self-Respect Effectiveness - building greater respect for yourself. 

What is Emotion Regulation?

Emotion Regulation is essential to life satisfaction. Are you, your spouse, or child feeling controlled by emotions? With just a few skills, managing emotions can make your life feel less chaotic. Emotion Regulation skills help you learn how to respond instead of reacting to your primary emotions before they end up taking you over and you engage in distressing secondary reactions. 

Emotion Regulation skills teach you to:

  • recognize emotions

  • overcome barriers to emotions that have positive effects

  • reduce vulnerability

  • increase emotions that have positive effects

  • be more mindful of emotions without judging them

  • expose yourself to your emotions

  • avoid giving into emotional urges

  • solve problems in helpful ways

Marital, Couples, Individual, Family, & Teen Counseling in Marietta, Georgia & Teletherapy in Illinois

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