It is considered a frontlinetreatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and has applications in treating other conditions as well.
What is DBT?
DBT is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) specifically developed to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD). However, its skills are now applied to other mental health struggles, too.
DBT focuses on four skill modules:
Teaching these skills helps reduce self-harm behaviors, emotional volatility, and instability associated with BPD and mood disorders.
Can EMDR and DBT Be Used Together?
EMDR and DBT take different approaches to improving mental health but have some overlap in their overall goals. Using skills from both may provide greater benefits than either alone for some individuals.
However, there are also some important considerations.
Here are some potential benefits of combining EMDR and DBT:
EMDR can reduce trauma-related triggers and reactions, making it easier to implement DBT skills
DBT offers coping methods to manage emotions stirred up by EMDR sessions
EMDR may free up mental resources so clients can absorb more of what is taught in DBT
DBT group support can reinforce self-care and stability needed during intense EMDR work
Integrating the two therapies requires coordination between all providers involved to ensure the treatments complement each other.
Common Goals of EMDR and DBT
Enhance coping skills
However, there are also some reasons for caution:
Processing trauma with EMDR can feel destabilizing initially
Coping skills from DBT may not yet be solid enough to manage that instability
Timing and sequence matter – skills may need to be established first
Additionally, EMDR requires training to administer properly. Mixing therapies without guidance could worsen symptoms.
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