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Marsha Linehan’s Dialectical Behavior Therapy is described in this Longevity article on available mental health approaches

Path To Mental Health: The Various Available Approaches

The path to mental health arises with different treatment approaches. A person-centered, multi-disciplinary approach to mental health is key to the therapeutic process. This kind of approach to therapeutic care, developed by American psychologist Carl Rogers, remains as relevant today as it was in the 1940s. It lies at the heart of the services offered by psychology experts across the world.

“The person seeking care is considered to be the ‘expert’ in seeking the desired solution or outcome,” says Sandy Lewis, head of psychological services at Akeso Clinics. “The voice of the patient is paramount in this model. Caregivers assist people to find their own path forward into health through listening, genuineness, congruence, empathy and ‘unconditional positive regard’ – a warm, non-judgmental approach. Person-centered care is our core treatment philosophy.”

What Is This Kind Of Treatment?

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) provides patients with new skills to manage painful emotions and decrease conflict in relationships. It is particularly suited to address borderline personality disorder, extreme suicidal and self-harming behaviors and addictions, as well as eating disorders.

“This type of therapy is suitable for the majority of our patients,” says Lewis. “Usually, when they, or their families, approach us for help, they are in acute pain. It’s a state that often precipitates a life crisis (one of many), and they are at risk of harm or even death.”

How Dialectical Behavior Therapy Works

Marsha Linehan, who developed DBT, said, “People with borderline personality disorder (and those like them) are like people with third-degree burns over 90% of their bodies. Lacking emotional skin, they feel agony at the slightest touch or movement”.

DBT works in three ways: first, it aims to reduce the intensity of pain felt by the patient; second, it tries to engage cognitive functioning which is lost during periods of extreme emotional arousal; and third, it works on acceptance of both self and situation.

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