Footprints to Recovery, Mental Health Treatment Program in NJ

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Footprints to Recovery Mental Health New Jersey

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

During outpatient mental health treatment in New Jersey, our licensed and certified DBT therapists help clients manage their symptoms and develop skills to build balanced lifestyle that expresses their true selves. 

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Psychotherapy is one of the most effective forms of treatment for mental health disorders. There are many kinds of psychotherapy used to help people manage their symptoms and move on to a happier and healthier life. One of the most popular forms of psychotherapy used to treat mental illness is dialectical behavior therapy. The practice was first developed to treat borderline personality disorder but has since evolved to treat other mental health issues as well.

When looking for help for your mental health, the best course of action is to trust your treatment to a team of professional clinicians like those at Footprints to Recovery Mental Health. Our mental health treatment facility in New Jersey is a safe and comfortable setting where anyone can turn their life around. If you’re looking for effective treatment for mental health disorders, Footprints to Recovery can help.


The healing process can pose many challenges - all of which can be difficult to cope with on your own.

Our team of licensed mental health professionals can help you manage your symptoms and create a new, more fulfilling life.


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If you have coverage of any kind, we will work with you to determine your benefits for mental health treatment. Any information you share with us is kept strictly confidential.

What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a modified form of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) that was initially developed by renowned psychologist Marsha M. Linehan. It was originally designed to treat individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD), but it has since been adapted and used to help people suffering from other mental health issues as well.

What Does Dialectical Behavior Therapy Treat?

Dialectical behavior therapy treats a variety of mental health disorders. It combines elements of cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness practices to help you regulate emotions. It can also help manage distress, improve interpersonal relationships, and develop skills for coping with difficult situations.

Some of the mental health disorders treated with DBT include:

DBT is effective in the treatment of mental health disorders and can be particularly beneficial for individuals who struggle to regulate their emotions in a healthy way. It can help individuals identify and change unhealthy behaviors, increase self-awareness, improve communication skills, and develop coping strategies to manage stressors. By learning how to effectively balance acceptance and change, DBT helps individuals find greater satisfaction in life while managing their mental health condition.

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Originally developed as a treatment for BPD, DBT is effective in treating the patterns of intense emotional instability found in those with borderline personality disorder. It is designed to help people suffering from BPD develop a sense of self-worth while managing difficult situations that could lead to impulsive or destructive behavior such as self-harm and suicide attempts. To do so, DBT helps individuals understand their emotions and regulate them in a healthier way. DBT also teaches skills for better communication and building trust with others.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

DBT can be beneficial for those suffering from trauma-related issues such as PTSD. For this reason, DBT skills are often incorporated into trauma-focused therapy. These skills can help victims of trauma learn how to recognize triggers that could lead to maladaptive trauma responses. DBT skills also help people identify and process difficult emotions associated with trauma. At the same time, DBT therapists provide healthy coping strategies to manage stress, leading to increased self-awareness and improved relationships. 

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

DBT can assist in the treatment attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Knowing that ADHD causes difficulties in sustaining attention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity, this neurological disorder often causes impairments in professional settings, family dynamics, and general socialization.

Research shows that specialized dialectical behavior therapy focusing on mindfulness, regulation of emotions, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance, impulsivity, and attention can improve ADHD symptoms. DBT skills training sessions also teach specific skills to alleviate ADHD difficulties affecting organization, planning, motivation, and emotion, and to help them use these skills outside sessions.

Bipolar Disorder (BD)

DBT can be helpful for individuals with bipolar disorder, especially in helping them manage intense mood swings and emotional dysregulation. DBT can help them identify triggers and learn how to minimize the effects of episodes. Those with bipolar disorder also benefit from learning how to cope with difficult feelings and manage the unpredictable nature of their disorder. Additionally, DBT can help individuals learn how to make better decisions in day-to-day life by helping them recognize patterns that trigger intense shifts in their moods.

Anxiety Disorders

DBT can be especially helpful for those with anxiety disorders, as DBT teaches strategies to help individuals recognize when their anxiety is spiraling out of control and how to prevent it from getting worse. DBT skills can help individuals learn how to regulate their emotions and remain calm in distressing situations. This therapy also helps people learn healthy coping mechanisms to manage their anxiety in order to reduce the risk of panic attacks or other negative fear responses.


DBT can be used to treat symptoms of depression. This therapy helps individuals learn to accept and acknowledge their emotions, as well as find new ways of coping with them. DBT can also provide cognitive strategies to help people reframe negative thoughts or thought patterns that are contributing to depression. Additionally, DBT provides tools for self-care and stress management, which are important components of overcoming depression.

Substance Use Disorders

DBT skills can be integrated into substance abuse treatment to help individuals manage cravings, cope with triggers, and prevent relapse. DBT emphasizes developing new coping strategies so that individuals can find healthier ways to deal with strong negative emotions such as anger, sadness, and shame. As a result, DBT skills can help individuals with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders find balance and abstain from drug and alcohol use. 

In a study on DBT skills training programs for alcohol use disorder and other substance use disorders, over 95% of people completed the program, and roughly 80% maintained their sobriety throughout the entirety of treatment. While the remaining 20% of individuals experienced a lapse in substance use, the study detected no significant relapse among any of the participants.

Eating Disorders

DBT has been adapted for the treatment of eating disorders. It aids in managing emotions, developing healthier coping mechanisms, and improving relationships with food. In doing so, people can gain a greater sense of control over their intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviors while instilling healthy eating habits.

Research on the use of DBT in the treatment of binge-eating disorders (BED) found that individuals who lack the skills necessary to cope with their emotions may use food as a means to avoid or escape from emotional distress. Similar studies utilized DBT to teach clients healthier emotional regulation and distress tolerance skills, lessening or eliminating the reliance on food in 89% of the participants.

Suicidal Ideation & Self-Harm

DBT’s focus on distress tolerance and emotion regulation is beneficial for those struggling with suicidal thoughts and behaviors. It helps individuals understand what leads to distress and teaches them how to better manage those feelings, rather than attempting to avoid or suppress them. DBT also is effective in reducing self-harm behaviors such as cutting, bruising, or other forms of self-injury. As individuals participate in DBT, they can learn skills to cope with distressing emotions and urges through evidence-based mental exercises and relaxation techniques. 

Anger Management Issues

DBT can be a powerful tool for those struggling with anger management issues. It helps individuals recognize their trigger points and how to self-regulate when faced with overwhelming emotions. DBT also teaches people new, healthier ways to express themselves when upset. Clinical studies surrounding the use of DBT treatment for anger issues found that clients experienced a significant reduction in feelings of anger and hostility as well as aggressive and violent behaviors during and after treatment.

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DBT can be effectively incorporated into both inpatient and outpatient care settings as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes individual and group therapy sessions. During outpatient care, DBT techniques can be applied during therapy and daily life, helping individuals manage their symptoms, develop coping strategies, and work towards their goals.

The focus of DBT is on both understanding and changing destructive behaviors and thinking patterns, such as:

Overall, DBT provides healthy alternative coping skills and techniques that empower individuals to develop a healthy sense of self through mindful meditation practices, relaxation techniques, communication skills, and a better understanding of their emotions. With the help of DBT, individuals can learn to recognize and modify their negative thoughts and behaviors to make positive changes in their lives. 

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How Does Dialectical Behavior Therapy Work?

Dialectical behavior therapy is a set process conducted in a controlled environment like a rehab center. The goal is to help you build coping skills to overcome symptoms of mental health disorders in the future. The first step in DBT is an assessment by a professional therapist like those at Footprints to Recovery. Our team can help identify any mental health issues you’re dealing with and apply DBT in an effective manner. You will begin to accept who you are and what challenges you face. From there, you can change your thoughts and behaviors to improve your ability to regulate emotions.

The Process of DBT Therapy

Initial Assessment

Following a diagnosis, individuals partner with skilled therapists to pinpoint specific goals and challenges to address using DBT. Throughout your initial assessment, your therapist will collaborate with you to identify the challenges you face, skills to help you cope, techniques to alter thoughts and behaviors, and guidance on how to effectively reach your therapy and life goals.

DBT Skills Training Groups

As you participate in DBT, you will meet in a group setting weekly for around 2 hours each time. These groups focus on learning and practicing the 4 DBT skills training practices: core mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance. In group therapy sessions, you can learn and practice skills that can help you better manage your emotions, tolerate stress, and build healthier relationships. 

Individual Psychotherapy Sessions

During DBT, you will meet individually with your therapist who will focus on altering negative behaviors. These could include suicidal thoughts, self-disrespect, or any negative behavior that impacts your quality of life. Following a group therapy session, your therapist will offer one-on-one guidance on how to apply the skills learned in group to real-life situations and challenges. As you progress through treatment, you will also review your use of DBT skills throughout the past week to highlight your successes and troubleshoot any issues you may experience.

Phone Consultations

Phone consultations are helpful when you need immediate assistance from your therapist. The goal is to teach you how to ask for help when things are not going well. Your therapist will often set times when they are available via phone to talk, and this can be scheduled on an as-needed basis. It is helpful to keep a journal of your experiences during your phone sessions so that you can refer back to it after each session and continue making progress. These consultations can also involve family members, allowing for a better understanding of the entire situation.

Care Team Consultations

Our therapists are always looking to improve their ability to help you recover. For this reason, your personal therapy team performs weekly consultations to ensure you are receiving the help you need. In doing so, our therapists collaborate with you and each other to provide the most effective treatment plan for your individual needs during treatment for mental health.

What Are DBT Skills?

During dialectical behavior therapy, your DBT-certified therapist will guide you through the process of recognizing and managing your emotions, learning to tolerate distress, improving relationships, and working towards your goals. Your therapist will help you identify maladaptive behavior patterns that are preventing you from achieving your goals. We’ll use proven techniques such as mindfulness meditation, cognitive restructuring, communication skills training, problem solving strategies, and more to assist you in creating healthier behaviors.

Throughout treatment, our therapists guide clients through DBT skills training groups and psychoeducation courses founded in the four modules of DBT. including mindfulness, emotional regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, and distress tolerance.

Four Main DBT Skills

Mindfulness Skills

Mindfulness skills involve focusing attention on the present moment and recognizing one’s thoughts, feelings, and body sensations without judgment. Mindfulness helps individuals to be less reactive to stressful situations by giving them a greater sense of control over their emotions by practicing “what” skills and “how” skills. These DBT skills also promote self-awareness and acceptance, allowing for more accurate perspectives when making decisions and reacting to situations.

Emotion Regulation Skills

Emotion regulation skills help individuals understand how their emotions affect their behavior and how to manage intense emotions more effectively. This includes recognizing triggers, developing coping strategies, and understanding the triggers that can lead to maladaptive behaviors. For instance, DBT therapists provide handouts such as the emotions wheel to assist clients in recognizing and defining their emotions without judgment or shame.

Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills enable individuals to better communicate and interact with others. They involve effective listening, expressing oneself confidently and respectfully, managing conflict and disagreements in a constructive manner, and being able to connect with others on an emotional level. By developing these skills, individuals can strengthen their relationships and foster more meaningful connections with those around them.

Distress Tolerance Skills

Distress tolerance skills involve managing difficult emotions and situations without resorting to unhealthy coping mechanisms. This can include learning how to cope with boredom, tolerating distress without escalating it into a crisis, developing healthy problem-solving skills, and being able to find constructive activities in times of stress that are calming or distracting. Knowing how to use these strategies can be invaluable when dealing with stressful situations. 

Dialectical behavior therapy focuses on helping individuals develop skills that will enable them to cope with difficult situations and emotions. It teaches people to identify and challenge any distorted thoughts or beliefs they may have, as well as improve their problem-solving skills.

Mindfulness is another important part of DBT therapy, as it helps individuals pay attention to the present moment and observe their thoughts without judgment. Similarly, emotional regulation skills can help individuals learn how to manage intense or overwhelming feelings in healthy ways. Skills for interpersonal effectiveness involve healthy style of communication to assist in interacting with others in an assertive but respectful manner.

As you progress through DBT therapy, our clinicians utilize evidence-based practices to help you learn how to manage your emotions and behaviors effectively. For this reason, with consistent practice of the skills learned through DBT therapy, individuals can develop healthier coping strategies for dealing with distressing emotions and situations.

With guidance from a trained therapist, DBT therapy can be an effective treatment for mental health issues. For those seeking to learn more about DBT, Footprints to Recovery Mental Health offers outpatient mental health treatment that can help you heal using the skills taught in DBT therapy.

Comprehensive Mental Health Services

At Footprints to Recovery, we believe that no one should have to face the struggles of mental health alone. Our compassionate clinicians create a safe, judgment-free space for you to freely explore your feelings and experiences. We strive to help you gain insight into others’ perspectives while also validating your thoughts and emotions. In offering DBT, our clinical team works closely with you to bring balance and stability to your mental health. 

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DBT at Footprints to Recovery Mental Health

At Footprints to Recovery Mental Health, your recovery is our priority. When the symptoms of mental health disorders are causing problems in your life, calling our admissions team may be the best thing to do. Our clinical team is skilled and experienced in providing dialectical behavior therapy for those in need. Call today and verify your insurance or learn more about our mental health treatment programs in New Jersey.

DBT is one part of the overall treatment process for mental health at Footprints to Recovery. For this reason, we provide dialectical behavior therapy services throughout our levels of care including:

There are many types of therapy beyond DBT available when you contact the team at Footprints to Recovery Mental Health. Our individualized treatment plans consider your unique situation for a safe and effective recovery. No matter what your mental health needs are, we want to help. Please don’t hesitate to call us if you have any questions or would like our assistance in navigating the path toward improved mental health. You can also fill out our secure contact form to get in touch with our admissions team today to get the support you need when you need it.

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