When facing a severe mental illness, recovery can seem overwhelming and at times even insurmountable, however recovery is possible. We see it everyday in the Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) program.
In 2014, CMHA WW started the Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) program to help those who experience emotional dysregulation who meet the diagnosis criteria of borderline personality disorder (BPD). Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious mental illness characterized by pervasive instability in moods, interpersonal relationships, self-image, and behavior. This instability often disrupts family and work life, long-term planning, and an individual’s sense of identity. Self-harm, impulsive acts and angry outbursts are often ways individuals attempt to reduce intolerable, intense, and painful emotions. Often these behaviours provide relief in the short term, but tend to backfire in the long term– causing even more suffering.
How does DBT change this?
Individuals supported by our DBT program participate in a variety of therapeutic services such as one-on-one counseling, skill development groups, and telephone consultations.
The goal of CMHA WW’s DBT program is to increase the quality of life and reduce the risk that individuals facing emotional dysregulation and borderline personality disorder experience. The program promotes the cultivation of meaningful and fulfilling lives while enhancing an individual’s ability to experience safety and stability.
Since the DBT program was established, CMHA WW has served 366 individuals and the outcomes for these individuals have been significant as demonstrated by client feedback:
“I can finally say I had a therapist who stuck it through, or that I didn’t burn out, or passed to someone else. With my therapist, the group, my girlfriend, my loved ones, I was beginning to have a life. A life worth living. Something I have never had in my life. I bettered myself. Which bettered my relationships. Which bettered my life as a whole. Everyone always has something to be grateful for in their lives. I can honestly say I’m forever grateful for that one meeting that got me in to the program. If it wasn’t for this program I would not be living today; plain and simple.”
“DBT has changed my life. I thought that I would get and learn the skills, only to never use them again. When, in my reality, I use my DBT skills more than once a day.”
“DBT has helped get me to a more “normal” place in life, a place where I’m happy to be and a place where I have worked so hard to get to. Of course, I couldn’t have done it on my own. The facilitators of the group, the therapists, the many people who made DBT possible have all been a part of shaping me into who I was meant to become all along. DBT has taught me valuable, lifelong skills that I will take and use with me for the rest of my life. I’m thankful for how intense the therapy was. For all of the things that it’s taught me, for pushing me beyond what I ever thought imaginable for myself.”
“I learned to test myself beyond limits, to force myself out of my shell and comfort, to feel the things that I hadn’t felt and to know that it’s okay to struggle.”
Hospital diversion, suicide prevention, a decrease in interaction with law enforcement are all significant outcomes because of the DBT program.