Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for Veterans

Unhelpful behaviors and thought patterns can sometimes derail self-confidence, personal progress and even our own identity. Through dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), veterans of all ages can come to terms with the thoughts and actions that stand between them and progress toward a healthier life.

Originally, DBT was developed to treat borderline personality disorder, but can be utilized in the treatment of many other behavioral health conditions as well. If you are a veteran who faces challenges like suicidal thoughts, PTSD, bipolar disorder or substance use, DBT can help.

DBT helps veterans learn to confront the conflicting notions of acceptance and change. The goal of this treatment modality is to adapt your outlook to accommodate the change you want to experience. Four core principles can help you feel more in control of your own outcomes.

Distress tolerance

Distress tolerance involves accepting yourself, your emotions and your current situation. There are four distinct skills in distress tolerance:

  • Self-distraction
  • Learning to improve the current moment
  • Balancing positives/negatives of improper distress management
  • Self-calming

Unique from other treatment modalities that help you address life’s challenges, distress tolerance asks you to face and accept yourself for who you are in the moment.

Black Psychologist Lady Comforting Soldier Woman In Uniform During Therapy Session In Office, Professional Psychotherapist Supporting Depressed Military Female Suffering Mental Problems, Closeup
Senior male military veteran comforts and reassures a mid adult female veteran as they share during a group therapy session.

Emotional regulation

Many people struggling with substance abuse or mental health symptoms are driven by strong negative emotions. Emotional regulation helps you process these emotions in a rational manner. The first step in emotional regulation is identifying strong feelings and understanding what triggers them.

By identifying your emotions as you feel them, emotional regulation helps you to reduce emotional vulnerability and cope with negative thoughts and feelings before they manifest into destructive behaviors.

Interpersonal effectiveness

Developing interpersonal effectiveness helps you to share your thoughts and opinions with family, friends and romantic partners without compromising your mental or emotional state, or the relationship itself.

Relationships thrive when both parties agree to open, honest communication. Learning to effectively communicate also means listening to, processing and understanding others’ point of view.

couple smiling
A woman sits outdoors and practicing mindfulness meditation.

Core mindfulness

In DBT, mindfulness calls for a developed understanding and perspective of what is happening around you. Mindfulness helps people focus on the present moment and how current thoughts, feelings and experiences contribute to the actions we take.

Mindfulness requires slowing down to take in each moment as it happens without self-judgment. Through mindfulness, you can learn to eliminate negative thought patterns and promote clear, logical thinking, regardless of external stressors.

DBT empowers you to embrace the present moment, regulate emotions, replace self-destructive behaviors with productive decisions and interact with others more effectively.

Get Help Today

If you or someone you care about is a veteran struggling with mental health, substance use or both, you’re not alone. Recovery is possible. Reach out to Pyramid Military Therapy & Recovery today to learn more about our personalized, evidence-based treatment programs.