I have been in and out of treatment for my bipolar disorder and substance abuse for nearly fifteen years and I have gained a lot of knowledge about different treatment therapies. Most recently I have been exposed to two types of therapy that have helped me tremendously. Following is a brief summary of each one of these therapy models. I encourage further research on both.
The first of these is DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy). DBT was developed by Marsha Linehan to help people suffering severely with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder). DBT deals with helping to reshape detrimental behaviors that can stand in the way of effectively living with BPD and, over the course of its history; it has been expanded to treat other mental illnesses and recovery from a number of addictions and disorders.
DBT is made up of four specific skill sets being taught that help with the stabilization of extreme moods and addictive behaviors. These skill sets are mindfulness; being fully present and aware in the moment, distress tolerance; how to tolerate uncomfortable situations without the need to change them, interpersonal effectiveness; how to ask for what you want and learn to say no while maintaining positive relationships and emotion regulation; how to change emotions that need to be changed when you want to change them.
The dialectic module of treatment focuses on self-acceptance but also realizing that some behaviors need to change in order to facilitate mood stabilization and recovery.
The second therapy I have been in is CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). This was developed by Dr. Aaron T. Beck and it deals with helping people with depression combat “automatic [negative] thoughts” that can increase this depression. CBT helps patients to realize that how we see the world will affect how we feel; this, in turn, can increase or decrease depression. Therapists help patients with anticipated challenging situations that may arise, and they help them to come up with a plan to combat these situations in a positive way.
Of all the different types of therapy and groups I have been a part of I would have to say that these two have been the most beneficial to my current journey towards recovery. They have also helped me to develop skills that help me to deal with everyday life situations with bipolar disorder. I highly recommend these therapy models to anyone suffering from mental illness and substance addiction.