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Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) in Eating Disorder Treatment

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is a derivative of cognitive behavioral therapy with mindfulness included. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a system of therapy originally developed to treat clients with borderline personality disorder. Borderline Personality Disorder often has its roots in childhood trauma. Many clients with eating disorders have trauma but not all have Borderline Personality Disorder. The therapy has been found useful in the treatment of eating disorders, mood disorders and self-injury behaviors.

In Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) the therapist and client discuss the issues that came up during the week. The client will have an eating disorder treatment plan hierarchy. The first priority in this hierarchy is to restraint from self-injury or violent behavior towards others. The second priority is to discuss the behaviors that interfere with the course of eating disorder and mental health treatment. Eating Disorder and mental health recovery and quality of life issues can then be worked on. Throughout the Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) therapy, the therapist and client work on improving life skills. The skills consist of being mindful, staying in the moment, interpersonal effectiveness skills, emotion regulation skills, and distress tolerance skills.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy  skills is really relearning the basic fundamental life skills that most people learned in early adolescence, but most eating disorder clients who require eating disorder treatment have missed this opportunity and need to learn or relearn these skills.