Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Substance use disorder is classified as a mental illness by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Long term drug abuse can lead to changes in brain chemistry as well as behavioral changes. Sadly, mental illness and addiction go hand in hand. Thankfully, as long as individual want to get better, there is always hope for recovery. The best way to combat addiction is to undergo therapy in a rehabilitation facility. At the Little Creek rehab center we employ a traditional 12 step program along with many other proven therapeutic techniques. One of the most efficient forms of treatment is dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT for substance abuse), particularly for treating patients with co-occurring mental illnesses. In this article we are going to explain the many benefits of dialectical behavioral therapy.

What Is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy?

Dialectical behavioral therapy is a form of evidence-based psychotherapy. It was initially developed by Marsha Linehan who described it as a cognitive-behavioral treatment for complex mental disorders. It was intended to treat suicidal women, where it was incredibly effective. Over time, DBT has evolved into a treatment for borderline personality disorder (BPD). We have also seen widespread use of DBT treatment for addiction.

When it comes to treating addiction, DBT for substance abuse has given incredible results. DBT can be used to teach patients how to come to terms and process their negative thoughts and emotions. A large part of addiction treatment is learning how to recognize and avoid triggers. DBT teaches patients to recognize negative thought patterns and to avoid succumbing to negative behavior. Instead of drowning in negativity, individuals can focus their thoughts on their actual needs and positive actions. Addiction often takes the form of cyclical bad behavior that exponentially grows and typically spirals out of control. DBT can help individuals break free from the cycle of negativity.

Most patients in rehab are taught to avoid their triggers and stressful situations. However, recovering addicts that have undergone DBT will learn to manage their thoughts and actions when they encounter their triggers. This can be especially important when an individual’s triggers are particularly widespread. For example, DBT for alcohol use disorder can allow recovering alcoholics to attend social gatherings without fear of relapse.

Man with depression.
DBT started as a treatment for borderline personality disorder.

Chief Causes of Addiction

A case can be made that there are as many causes for addiction as there are addicts. Individuals who are suffering from substance use disorder may have started abusing for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, for all of them, the result is the same. Their substance use has progressed into addiction which has started to affect their physical and mental wellbeing. Although, when we look a little closer, there are definitely patterns which we can observe and learn from.

First of all, there are certain substances which are considered socially acceptable, such as alcohol and marijuana. The fact that their use is widespread can cause individuals to, mistakenly, believe that their use is safe. However, alcohol addiction is particularly widespread. Thankfully, we can use DBT for alcohol use disorder. On the other hand, marijuana may also cause addiction and dependence which can require detox and rehab. In some cases, marijuana overdose can cause anxiety, paranoia and hallucinations.

Next we have addiction which is caused by misuse or prolonged use of prescription drugs. The fact that a doctor prescribed you medication doesn’t mean that those drugs are completely risk free. Numerous opioids can cause addiction which will require rehab and professional treatment. A widespread and popular prescription medicine that often leads to addiction is benzodiazepine. Individuals addicted to benzos must undergo detox and enter a rehab facility if they wish to recover. Fortunately, DBT for substance abuse treatment has proven effective.

Obviously, we also need to mention addiction that stems from recreational drug use. Particularly notable is cocaine addiction, since 5.5 million Americans use cocaine every year. Another dangerous drug is heroin, which is an illegal opioid that is highly addictive and can cause dependence almost instantly. If left untreated heroin addiction can cause lasting detrimental effects to a person’s wellbeing.

Core Components Of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Training

All forms of addiction therapy conducted by licensed clinical staff need to be held to the highest medical standard. At the Little Creek treatment center in Pennsylvania, our recovery programs adhere to the proven 12 step model. However, we also implement behavioral therapy techniques, such as DBT for substance abuse. Dialectical behavioral therapy has four main components, which are: skills training, phone coaching, individual therapy, and team consultation.

Skills Training

Learning new skills is an important part of any rehabilitation process. Your newfound skills are what will help you maintain sobriety and avoid relapse after you leave our rehab facility. The necessary skills you’ll learn during your DTB treatment for addiction include: mindfulness, emotional regulation, interpersonal effectiveness and distress tolerance. These skills are intended to improve your internal coping mechanisms when facing negative triggers.

You will be able to use the skills you’ve learned during your training to process your negative thoughts. Processing the negativity will help you avoid acting on impulse, and to overcome your need to abuse substances. We’ve found that the best way for patients to learn and internalize these skills is in a group setting. Group therapy can allow patients to learn from the experience of others and to strengthen their own self-awareness. During group therapy patients will also form strong interpersonal bonds which they can later rely on for support.

Phone Coaching

While patients are attending Little Creek rehab center in Lake Ariel they will have constant access to clinicians and therapists. However, patients might require continued support even after they leave our facility. Although in-person therapy sessions are crucial for recovery, the truth is that individual or group therapy isn’t always available. Individuals may find themselves far from a nearby therapist; or perhaps they may be exposed to severe addiction triggers which require immediate access to therapy.

In these situations, phone coaching can provide individuals with the support they need. Phone coaching is an integral part of DBT for alcohol use disorder and substance addiction. DBT phone coaching can represent a necessary lifeline for individuals struggling with a chronic illness. Support can be given over the phone and individuals can refocus on their skills for relapse prevention.

Man having DBT phone coaching.
Phone coaching is an effective, remote form of support.

Individual Therapy

Besides attending group therapy, our patients will also have access to one-on-one sessions with a therapist. Individual therapy can represent the best place to explore complex emotions that patients have trouble expressing in front of others. Patients in individual therapy sometimes have an easier time re-discovering their identity which was suppressed by addiction.

DBT treatment for addiction has an important part in individual therapy since it can allow patients to better understand themselves. DBT in individual therapy can be used to understand the motivations that push individuals towards addiction. Once individuals understand their emotions and motivations, they can have an easier time preventing relapse.

Team Consultation

Providers of DBT treatment for addiction need to undergo team consultation. Such groups are intended to offer support to DBT providers. Team consultation gives them an opportunity to meet up, share experiences and support each other. This helps providers stay mentally fit and able to give support to their patients. Therefore, you can consider it to be a sort of therapy for the therapists.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Skills

We previously mentioned the importance of skills training for DBT. The main purpose of the skills which are trained during DBT is to offer patients healthy coping mechanisms. By using those skills patients can overcome potentially harmful triggers. There are four main skills, or modules, which go into DBT for substance abuse. Those skills are: mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance and emotion regulation.


Learning to accept and tolerate powerful emotions which can arise from harmful triggers is the core aspect of mindfulness. DBT for substance abuse teaches patients to control their thoughts and remain in the moment. When negative triggers occur, it is easy to get swept up in a wave of negative emotions. Mindfulness can help patients remain calm when they are exposed to their triggers.

Learning acceptance through mindfulness can cause a spiritual shift during recovery. Mindfulness helps patients in recovery visualize and aim for the changes they need to get better. Although setting clear goals may sound simple; most patients in recovery are dealing with a lot of guilt and shame. DBT and mindfulness can teach them to look past their current negative emotions.

Mindfulness written on white paper.
Mindfulness is a key skill for dialectical behavioral therapy.

Interpersonal Effectiveness

Bonding with other people is one of the necessary requirements of recovery. During outpatient therapy, individuals will strive to become productive members of society. DBT can teach patients how to bond with other people through interpersonal effectiveness. Patients will be able to communicate more efficiently and build strong social support networks.

Interpersonal effectiveness is mainly focused on three core skills: self-respect, treating others with care and respect, and assertiveness. These three skills will let patients create and nurture healthy relationships with others. However, DBT treatment for addiction and interpersonal effectiveness skills can also be used to mend broken relationships. This can be especially relevant for individuals suffering from substance use disorder, since addictive behavior can poison and destroy relationships with those closest to us.

Distress Tolerance

In order to deal with trauma, individuals first need to learn how to manage stress. Distress tolerance can help patients learn how to bear their pain and stress. Many individuals who are struggling with addiction, initially began abusing because they weren’t able to deal with stress. Learning how to accept circumstances without being judgmental of oneself can reduce the chance for relapse.

Emotion Regulation

Individuals suffering from borderline personality disorder are emotionally intense, and can often change emotional states. Learning how to recognize and name their emotions is one of the first steps in controlling one’s emotions. Over time, patients who learn emotion regulation will be able to change their unwanted emotions and reduce their vulnerability.

Benefits Of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Training

While there are obvious benefits of dialectical behavioral therapy for individuals suffering from borderline personality disorder, there are also advantages in using DBT for alcohol use disorder and substance abuse. Most importantly, undergoing DBT training will improve a patient’s chances of achieving a successful recovery. The skills patients pick up in DBT training will also help them maintain their sobriety after they finish rehab.

DBT for substance abuse provides patients with coping mechanisms that will allow them to function in real life stressful situations. Individuals that have undergone DBT will have an easier time resisting their cravings and urges to use. The social skills they have learned can enable individuals to build and strengthen healthy support groups. Although addiction may cause you to feel alone and isolated; know that you are not alone. The best way to overcome your struggles is through help and support – dialectical behavioral therapy can make that happen.

Men attending group therapy for addiction.
DBT can be used in outpatient treatment programs.

Receive Dialectical Behavioral Therapy At Little Creek Recovery

Individuals who wish to receive dialectical behavioral therapy and undergo rehab at Little Creek Recovery Center should go through admissions. Our facility is located in Lake Ariel in Pennsylvania and offers treatment to adult males suffering from substance use disorder. The inpatient program is men-only, while women are welcome to take part in our outpatient programs. If you want to find out more about our admission process, you can contact our coordinators.

Our kind and welcoming staff will explain how rehab functions at Little Creek. They can tell you what to pack for your stay at our treatment center. After you make the necessary preparations for your stay, you’ll need to have a way to reach our rehab center.

Thankfully, as part of our admissions process, we can also help you organize transportation to our facility. Some individuals who want to attend our DBT for alcohol use disorder training might not legally be able to drive. Addiction can cause individuals to get in trouble with the law and have their driver’s license revoked. Regardless of the reason, we can provide transportation services to our facility. All you need to do is to contact us, and we can make all the necessary arrangements. Our goal was to make it simple to receive dialectical behavioral therapy at Little Creek Recovery. With our help, you can achieve long term sobriety and lead a substance-free life.

Types of insurance Accepted at Little Creek

Patients who wish to attend rehab and undergo DBT at Little Creek often wonder if their insurance will cover treatment. The answer to that will mostly depend on your provider and the type of health insurance you have. The good news is that Little Creek accepts health insurance from most major providers. You can contact your provider to check the details of your coverage. They can explain which benefits and services you are eligible for, and what exactly will be covered.

On the other hand, you can feel free to contact us to verify your insurance. Simply fill out the admission form with your insurance details and we can check your coverage. All the information you provide is strictly confidential. After checking your insurance, we’ll contact you, go through all of your benefits, and answer any questions you may have.

How to Recognize You or Your Loved One Need Help

Addiction is a progressive disease that will only get worse over time if it is left untreated. While it is never too late to ask for help, recovery is easier in the early stages of addiction. An individual has the best chance of recovery if they enter rehab before their addiction causes permanent damage. Therefore, it is important to be on the lookout for signs of addiction in loved ones and family members. Families play a critical role in the recovery process. They are one of the most important sources of support an individual who is struggling with addiction can have.

Unfortunately, individuals with substance use disorder can be very skilled at hiding their addiction. You should be weary of common signs of addiction such as physical changes and mood swings. Avoidant behavior, irregular sleep patterns and weight fluctuations are all common for addicts.

Even when you do realize that your loved one has a problem, they may be reluctant to enter rehab. These situations may require a family intervention. Above all, you should remember to be patient, kind and respectful. If you come across as forceful or judgmental, you’ll have a hard time convincing your loved one to get treatment.

Family gathering representing dbt for substance abuse
Learn how to navigate social situations with DBT.

The Duration Of The Program

How long a patient will stay in our facility will largely depend on their progress through our clinical treatment program. Residential stay as part of our inpatient treatment goes on for a minimum of 30 days. However, some patients will prolong their residential stay to 60 or 90 days. Recovery is a lifelong goal, and patients shouldn’t rush through rehab. Attending DBT treatment for addiction can help individuals achieve lifelong sobriety. Therefore, it is critical that patients feel confident in their progress before they move on to other treatment programs.

After they have completed inpatient therapy, patients can progress to our outpatient rehab program. During this time, patients will be encouraged to pursue employment and re-integrate back into society. Outpatient treatment consists of regular therapy sessions conducted in groups, as well as individual one-on-one sessions with a therapist.


Occasionally, individuals may have additional questions regarding other forms of treatment in our Little Creek rehab facility in Pennsylvania. We often get asked about the differences between inpatient and outpatient rehab. You can contact us, and we will gladly help you find the type of treatment that is right for you.

Keep in mind that there are other forms of treatment available, such as partial hospitalization program. PHP represents a form of outpatient rehab, which is sometimes called day treatment. Patients will attend for up to eight hours a day, between five and seven days a week. Individuals who are undergoing PHP will get to spend nights in their own homes. This can allow them to maintain some responsibilities.

Another form of treatment is our intensive outpatient program which is intended to provide patients with moderate-level addiction treatment. However, patients will have an easy time maintaining their personal lives and obligations while they are in IOP. One of the main benefits of intensive outpatient programs is that they can involve families in some treatment sessions.

Keep in mind that DBT can efficiently be used to treat individuals who are in inpatient and outpatient rehab programs. If you want to learn more about rehab in Little Creek, feel free to browse our website for online resources. You can also call us and speak to one of our staff members. We will try to find the best form of treatment suited for your needs.

Little Creek Specialists

The treatment we provide in Little Creek is held to the highest healthcare standards and regulations. Treatment is provided by licensed professionals that treat all patients with care and respect. We base our therapy on the traditional 12 step program; however, we also implement behavioral therapeutic techniques. One of the most efficient forms of treatment has proven to be dialectical behavioral therapy. With the help of our Little Creek specialists, you can learn to manage addiction triggers and make healthy life choices.

The Little Creek team will also care for you during your residential stay at Shane’s House. It is a structured home for sober living adjacent to the Little Creek Lodge. Patients can stay in the structured living program for up to three months. Patients who stay in Shane’s House will be able to maintain their personal and professional goals while they attend therapy.

To summarize

We hope that you have gained more insight into dialectical behavioral therapy treatment for addiction. DBT has become an integral part of the treatment we provide at Little Creek in Pennsylvania. Through the use of DBT, we can teach you to deal with negative triggers and to avoid bad choices. Contact us to get the treatment you need and start making positive life choices that will help you stay sober. A fulfilling, substance-free life can be yours. All you need to do is to muster the courage to ask for help.


“Adventure trek is always popular”

Little creek lodge is such an amazing place for people who want to make a serious change in their life. I’ve watched my loved one grow immensely through his recovery with the help of the caring staff and engaging programs. Adventure trek is always popular on the agenda!

Annabelle Stiso |

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