Before Treatment at Skyland Trail
Clients who are assigned to our Dialectical Behavior Therapy(DBT) Recovery Community struggle with regulating their emotions and sometimes intense relationships. They often have extreme emotional reactions to what others perceive as "normal" frustrations or mildly stressful situations. Many of our DBT clients have tried other models of therapy unsuccessfully. In clinical terms, DBT clients may exhibit symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder along with a primary mood disorder, thought disorder or anxiety disorder. These symptoms often include impulsivity, self-injurious behaviors or frequent suicide attempts.
Skyland Trail applies a system-wide DBT approach to a continuum of care from residential to day treatment to intensive outpatient programs. Our around-the-clock, certified DBT treatment team is trained in coaching DBT skills and understands how to support recovery for our DBT clients.
Our DBT Recovery Community provides a validating and safe environment for clients to learn coping skills to manage the stress that they encounter in life. Skills are taught in four modules:
- Emotion Regulation
- Distress Tolerance
- Interpersonal Effectiveness
Through one-on-one and group therapy sessions, DBT clients learn to be aware of what they are thinking and feeling in the moment. Instead of becoming overwhelmed and reacting with intense or desperate behavior, clients learn to recognize their specific emotions and respond with healthy strategies to maintain control and feel better. Practice is key. Clients practice using their new skills in our adjunctive therapy groups and in "real world" situations as they gradually take on greater daily responsibilities and move toward independent living.
Learning healthy coping and interpersonal skills after years of relying on maladaptive behaviors to handle stress is challenging and difficult work. But with a new set of skills as a resource, our clients can benefit more fully from less intensive, ongoing therapy and supportive social relationships. After leaving Skyland Trail, our graduates often transition to weekly therapy with an outpatient psychotherapist who can continue to help them manage stress appropriately, build meaningful relationships and achieve their goals. Dr. Marsha Linehan, who developed DBT, described the goal of dialectical behavior therapy as creating "a life worth living."