There are two aspects to therapy: what we do in sessions and the relationship between client and therapist. Below you will find characteristics of the client-therapist relationship we strive to achieve.
Strengths-oriented: The therapist helps clients to identify their strengths and build on them so they can feel better about themselves and their lives. In part, the therapist does this by modeling validation.
Cognitive-based: DBT helps identify thoughts, beliefs, and assumptions that make life harder: “I’m not good enough.” “If I have emotions, I’m a weak person.” This helps people learn different ways of thinking that will make life more bearable: “I am good enough in most areas of my life. I deserve to be treated well.” “Everyone has emotions. It’s not a weakness but a sign of strength that I can express them.”
Behaviorally-focused. DBT teaches and reinforces adaptive behaviors. You will learn to recognize and accept what is, tolerate distress, regulate your emotions and improve your interpersonal effectiveness.
Collaborative: You will be asked to complete homework assignments, role-play new ways of interacting with others, and to practice skills such as stopping obsessive negative thoughts. It is in this collaboration that lives improve.
Therapeutic Neutrality: In Couples and Family therapy, the therapist maintains neutrality. This does not mean the therapist does not call attention to patterns of behavior in one person or the other when it is beneficial to the relationship. There will be times when an individual might feel discomfort at the focused attention but over the course of a session or many sessions the attention balances out and it will become evident that the therapist’s goal is supporting the shared goals of the couple or family..