The pop-star actress and singer, Selena Gomez has battled depression and is once again in treatment. She is relying on a new treatment known as Dialectical Behavior Therapy or DBT. One of the key concepts is “radical acceptance” — or letting go of what you want and accepting what is. Gomez tells “People” that it is changing her life for the better.
In an interview with “Vogue” last year, she says she relies on what she is learning to help her battle anxiety and depression. She remarked, “I am a profound believer in the therapy. I wish more people would talk about it.”
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Dialectical Behavior Therapy is heavily based on cognitive behavioral therapy, or talk therapy. It promotes both acceptance and change in a patient, which seems contradictory, thus the reference in its name to “dialectical,” defined as the integration of opposites.
Marsha Linehan, a psychology professor at the University of Washington, developed DBT in the 1980’s to treat suicidal behaviors, but it has since expanded to treating borderline personality disorder and other “severe and complex mental disorders,”
Linehan’s biography noted. She herself struggled with mental illness and vowed to help herself and others.
“I suppose it’s true that I developed a therapy that provides the things I needed for so many years and never got,” she told The New York Times.
“Suppressing what you want is not the way to go. You have to radically accept that you want something you don’t have and it’s not a catastrophe,” Linehan said in a video explaining her philosophy. “Reality is what it is. The goal is for them to “get out of hell” and build “a life worth living,” which can mean different things to different people, Linehan said.
She recognized it wasn’t enough for patients to be listened to and understood in therapy — they also had to receive instruction on how to change. So the program teaches patients various life coping skills, including:
- how to stay present in the moment
- how to tolerate mental pain in difficult situations
- how to ask for what they want
- how to change the emotions they want to change — this may be the most critical part of the entire treatment, Linehan said.
The groups meet weekly for about 2.5 hours. The curriculum lasts 24 weeks, but it’s often repeated to create a one-year program. Individual therapy sessions also take place once a week during this time. Telephone coaching is available so that patients can get help from their therapist between sessions.
Ref. Vogue, People, today.com, nami.org, nytimes.com, youtube.com, behavioraltech.org
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