AN Evidence-Based Approach

Dialectical Behavior Therapy at Southern Sky Recovery

A few evidence-based therapies are considered highly effective in an addiction therapy program. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a specific version of cognitive-behavioral therapy developed in the early 1990s by American psychologist Dr. Marsha Linehan.

Behavioral therapies are particularly helpful to people with substance use disorders because they incentivize abstinence, modify beliefs and attitudes about substance use and thus behaviors, and strengthen life skills, including the ability to manage triggers.

Learn more about DBT by reaching out to Southern Sky Recovery. Our staff is on hand to answer your questions about dialectical behavior therapy and other treatments available in our addiction therapy program. Our number is 843.350.5769, or use our online form, a simple way to connect with a counselor. Quality dialectical behavior therapy in Bluffton is a phone call or click away.


What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

The word dialectical means “acting through opposing forces.” In other words, two things that seem to contrast are used to create an effective response – in this case, to addiction. In DBT, the two seeming opposites are change and acceptance. Generally, when we imagine acceptance, we do not believe we need to change, and we think that change implies we cannot accept something. In the case of addiction treatment, these two human skills–the ability to accept and the ability to change–are harnessed to create a sense of peace and acceptance of what is while enabling a healthy shift to something better. Acceptance allows change to happen without urgency or a sense of panic. Change brings clients closer to their best possible outcomes of well-being and recovery.

The dialectical behavior therapy model is highly effective in treating addiction and suicidality, self-injury, and any mental health issues affected by trauma. DBT for dual diagnosis treatment of addiction that co-occurs with mental health disorder has high rates of success as well.

At Southern Sky, our DBT therapy is offered by experienced, trained, and compassionate professional clinicians in both group and individual settings. Therapists focus on the specific steps and ensure clients experience the full range of DBT offers.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

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How Does DBT Work?

DBT therapy has particular areas of focus that bring about lasting healing for those with substance use disorders or co-occurring disorders. The areas on which your DBT counselor will focus are listed below.


Focus on the present moment is central to DBT. The impulsivity of addiction creates problems when those who have a substance use disorder respond in a highly reactive way to charged emotions and stress. Developing the skill of pausing – mindfulness-informed habits such as conscious breathing and meditation – help you focus on a single moment rather than the feared unknown of future moments you cannot control. A mindfulness practice makes all the other pieces of DBT therapy hang together.

Distress tolerance

Linked closely to mindfulness in the DBT world, the ability to tolerate upset, hardship, and the unexpected twists and turns life throws your way – this skill replaces drugs or alcohol as someone with addiction handles stress.

Modification of thinking and behavior patterns

Like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), DBT also focuses on thoughts, beliefs, and expectations, directly influencing behavior. Learning to differentiate between your helpful thoughts and those that can derail you is part of the DBT process. When you recognize which of your beliefs about yourself and the world are reliable, your behavior begins to reflect those healthier thinking patterns.

Communication and relationships

People with substance use disorders have a hard time asking for help, communicating their feelings, or engaging in relationships deeply. Instead, they turn to alcohol or drugs for the support they cannot provide themselves or seek from others. Since addiction is the opposite of healthy support, this strategy invariably fails. In DBT therapy, you gain confidence, learn to set boundaries while also asking for help when needed, and become adept at conveying your thoughts and feelings without anxiety. You also learn how to listen.
Healthy communication is the key to meaningful relationships, which are hugely significant for those in recovery.

Managing emotions

Addictive substances fool users into believing they modulate emotional swings, but they exacerbate them. Many people who struggled with emotional regulation before abusing drugs find that their ability to do so only weakens. Finding balance is key to mindfulness, communication, and healthy thinking, so you can see how all the pieces of the DBT model are beautifully interwoven.

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The team at Southern Sky Recovery is available to help you or your loved one in finding the best treatment options that work for your individual needs. Our program is rooted in a philosophy based on client-first care and personalized solutions. Call us today to start your journey to long-term healing.

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Find A Dialectical Behavior Therapy Program In Bluffton At Southern Sky Recovery

In addition to DBT therapy, our other evidence-based treatments are available to everyone enrolled in our addiction therapy program at Southern Sky Recovery. We offer:

  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
  • Anger management
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dual Diagnosis treatment
  • Medication-assisted therapy (MAT)

Reach out today to find out how our Bluffton outpatient programs, intensive outpatient, and partial hospitalization programs can help you on the road to recovery. Call 843.350.5769 today or use our online form to connect with someone who can help.

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At our Savannah drug rehab, we know that every story of addiction is different. Let us help you write a new story, one free from addiction, that ends in recovery and a life of sobriety. Reach out now to get started.

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Southern Sky Recovery is here to help. Our central location in Bluffton, SC allows us to service clients in the Lowcounty & Coastal Empire areas.

60 Pennington Drive, Bluffton, SC 29910