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At Southern Live Oak Wellness, we understand mental health conditions can have an extreme impact on a person’s life. Since dialectical behavior therapy is effective evidence-based care, we are dedicated to providing our clients with DBT therapy in Atlanta.

DBT group therapy session in Atlanta, GA

What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) was introduced in the 1980s and was initially designed to treat people with borderline personality disorder (BPD). However, it has since been very effective in treating other emotional or behavioral conditions, including depression. 

DBT is a branch of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), a form of psychological treatment. In CBT, a person works with their mental health counselor through talk therapy in structured sessions. The goal of CBT is to face emotional challenges and modify behaviors to develop better coping skills.

DBT is a therapy that helps individuals to become more aware of negative, inaccurate thinking. By increasing this awareness, a person can address challenging situations in a more constructive way, thereby reducing stress. The goal of DBT is for people to accept themselves and work through negative emotions to have better stress tolerance for life’s inevitable obstacles.


Why We Provide DBT Therapy in Atlanta

Dialectical behavior therapy is evidence-based and has been proven to result in better patient outcomes. The Edgmont Psychiatry Journal published multiple studies on DBT effectiveness. For example, a study of senior patients suffering from depression showed that a larger portion of patients on anti-depressants reached remission with the added use of DBT versus medications only.

Other DBT studies decreased suicidal thoughts in patients with borderline personality disorder. Furthermore, DBT has proven to be an effective form of cognitive-behavioral therapy, with clients reporting faster recoveries and fewer readmissions after DBT. As a widely-accepted behavioral therapy, DBT is known for changing how many people think about situations. Since this is an extraordinary lifelong skill, we proudly provide DBT therapy in Atlanta. 

Who Might Need Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

DBT has been successful in helping to treat various mental health disorders, such as borderline personality disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, and eating disorders. While DBT helps treat acute mental disorders, it is also beneficial in less severe conditions. For example, many people become so accustomed to negative self-talk that they don’t even realize they are engaging in it.

Therefore, during DBT therapy in Atlanta, our therapists are dedicated to helping clients understand their emotions. In addition, our therapists can be extremely helpful in advocating for more constructive thought patterns. DBT can also help treat anxiety, PTSD, and trauma. This form of cognitive-behavioral therapy can be incredibly impactful on a person’s life as it can help break the cycle of negativity. For these reasons, DBT is often used to treat numerous mental health conditions with varying severity. 

woman with mental health disorder

How Does DBT Help with Borderline Personality Disorder?

DBT addresses some of the main issues faced by those living with borderline personality disorder (BPD). For example, BPD may cause a person to struggle with the thought of self-improvement and self-acceptance simultaneously. DBT helps these patients understand the necessity to accept themselves while also working on things they can improve. 

Additionally, DBT teaches mindfulness to those living with BPD. Mindfulness helps people decrease impulsivity symptoms by taking more intentional steps in the decision-making process. By reducing impulsivity through mindfulness, people can also avoid other potentially harmful behaviors that create a negative self-esteem cycle. 

DBT for Treating Depression

Dialectical behavior therapy has been shown to help people with depression by addressing various symptoms directly. This branch of cognitive-behavioral therapy improves self-acceptance and helps restore motivation. By helping patients understand that their efforts are steps toward healing, they gain positivity from being able to recognize their progress.

DBT helps treat the following symptoms of depression:

  • Persistent sadness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Physical symptoms of depression, such as aches and pains
  • Apathy toward things a person was once passionate about 

In addition, DBT addresses problems known to worsen depression, such as self-esteem issues. Since depression can cause debilitating sadness and hopelessness, a DBT therapist can help by providing much-needed positive reinforcement. This approach also teaches new life skills that allow a person to cope with stressful situations as they come.   

How Does DBT Work?

The word “dialectical” means relating to the logical discussion of ideas and options while acting through opposing forces. This idea helps patients understand that their experiences are not mutually exclusive, allowing them to be more open-minded about acceptance and change. 

DBT therapists seek to establish two essential points with clients at the beginning of this type of cognitive-behavioral therapy. First, therapists establish that they accept their clients regardless of their struggles. This creates a safe space for clients to pursue therapeutic goals without feeling weighed down by judgment.

Secondly, the therapists establish it will be crucial for change to take place for healing and the ability to move forward. After therapists have partnered with their clients to create a foundation for trust and transparency, DBT sessions focus on teaching skills in the four treatment modes of DBT: mindfulness, emotional regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness. 

individual DBT therapy session in Atlanta

Standard DBT Treatment Modes

While therapy can vary, the standard model for DBT includes four modes. Most programs will have some modification of these principles based on individual patient needs and successful outcomes.

The four treatment modes of DBT include:

  • Mindfulness involves being fully present in the current moment and not being overly reactive to outside distractions. While everyone must be aware of external situations in daily life, there are moments when people can focus on what they are doing. Then, they can allow themselves to live in the present. These moments are excellent for mental health and clarity. 
  • Emotional regulation helps individuals understand their emotions and to change unwanted feelings. Emotional regulation teaches people valuable skills for regulating their emotions in a healthy way, making them less vulnerable in a realm of situations. 
  • Distress tolerance allows people to overcome crisis situations without resorting to additional negativity. Here, people are better equipped to deal with life’s challenges. They know obstacles will occur and accept this without viewing the situation as a loss of progress. This treatment mode involves rethinking setbacks and establishing what can be controlled.
  • Interpersonal effectiveness are strategies to meet interpersonal objectives, maintain relationships, and increase respect in relationships. Also, interpersonal effectiveness includes developing and growing self-respect.

Heal With DBT Therapy in Atlanta 

At Southern Live Oak Wellness, we believe in evidence-based care for mental health conditions. Every person deserves to live their life to the fullest, and DBT Therapy helps our clients significantly on their healing journey. 

If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health, contact us to begin recovery today. 


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    Southern Live Oak Wellness saved my life. The therapists genuinely care about the clients and helping them get better. Working on yourself is not easy, but the therapists help guide you and make you be able to work through whatever may be going on.

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      Going to SLOW has impacted my life in ways I never thought possible. I came for help with my mental state and came out with so much more; life skills, medical advice, mental health counseling and addiction treatment. SLOW is a whole life transformation program and I highly recommend it to anyone I know!

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      When I was a part of this program, I had the most personal growth I’ve had in my entire life. All of the tech staff were willing to talk to me whenever I felt like I needed someone to talk to and the group sessions gave me multiple perspectives I never would’ve thought of from people in similar situations to me.

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      This place has changed my life. For the first time in my life I felt heard and cared about. The clinical staff is amazing. The groups are well structured. You learn a lot of different skills to help you in life this is the best mental health facility to come to.

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