Written by Marcela Scott, BA, BSW, RSW (SK)
Estimated read time: 3min
In the new superhero series “She Hulk” on Disney+, Bruce Banner tells his recently transformed “hulkanian” cousin that in order to “control” her inner “monster”, she needs to practice DBT, or, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy.
Perhaps you've heard of this type of therapy before?
If you are familiar with the Hulk comics, you would know that a brilliant scientist has an alter ego that surfaces any time he is in a highly distressing situation (i.e. falling from a 30-story building).
And yet, we do not need to be thrown out of the window of a 30-story building to feel high emotional distress, which is why it is sometimes hard to make sense of why we are feeling a certain way. This is when DBT can be extremely helpful.
WHAT IS DBT?
Developed in the 70s by Marsha Linehan, DBT is a type of therapy was designed to help people that had self-harming behaviours who were having trouble with their emotions in a way that was impacting their way of life considerably and required in-house psychiatric treatment. Although it has been proposed as the top treatment for people with borderline personality disorder (BPD), this type of treatment can be helpful for many experiencing emotional distress.
The philosophy behind DBT is based on what is called "dialectics".
Dialectics is a method in which a counsellor helps the client identify why many of their choices and behaviours do not seem to match what they expect or want.
The fantastic thing about DBT is that it creates a therapeutic balance between acceptance and change. Much like Bruce Banner and the Hulk, there is nothing he can do to remove his alter ego. However, he can work to understand how to manage it so he can control that part of him when it is needed, like saving the world. In your case, it would be saving yourself and your world (though I would never discourage some moderately safe superhero behaviours).
As a client, there is a sense of hope when trying DBT as recognizing that your emotions are real and valid is an essential part of it. As well, the therapy is created to learn the skills that will help you in your daily life, thus making it a very practical approach.
DBT asserts that you, your emotions, and your behaviours cannot be separated from your environment. In other words, your environment contributes immensely to what you are experiencing. These are some of the reasons why many people find DBT extremely helpful.
Each therapy has its on unique approaches, and while going through a DBT treatment you can expect to work on 4 different but correlated skills.
These are called:
- distress tolerance
- emotion regulation
- mindfulness, and
- interpersonal effectiveness
How you work through them and when is dictated in a collaborative approach with you and your counsellor.
Nevertheless, DBT requires commitment and motivation, so much like a superhero, you will be training yourself to learn the skills.
So, are you ready to take charge of your emotions... your inner Hulk?
Blog post written by Marcela Scott, BSW, RSW (SK) #4599
Marcela joined our team in July, 2022 & has training in DBT.
Contact us to book a free consult with Marcela to discuss whether DBT could be the right fit for you.