Dialectical Behavioral Therapy for Addiction & Substance Abuse

Effective DBT treatment for addiction and substance use disorders co-occurring with mental health issues in Greenfield, IN

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a specialized adaptation of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This therapy approach is a well-accepted form of talk therapy designed for people grappling with intense emotions. DBT combines cognitive strategies with acceptance-based techniques to help you recognize and come to terms with realities and behaviors while fostering a pathway toward positive change and recovery from addiction.

Through the emphasis on understanding the connection between thoughts, emotions, and actions, DBT offers a holistic approach to therapy, giving you the opportunity to develop the tools needed to navigate your emotions and face challenges with resilience.

At Hickory House Recovery in Greenfield, IN, we offer a comprehensive dialectical behavior therapy DBT program for those facing substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health issues.

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Is dialectical behavioral therapy useful for drug and alcohol addiction recovery?

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) was developed in the 1970’s and is an effective approach to treating substance abuse disorders, backed by scientific research proving its effectiveness. The primary reason it has such a positive impact on those recovering from drug and alcohol addiction is because DBT helps treat issues that stem from problematic or unhealthy coping mechanisms or efforts to control negative or intense emotions. DBT gives you the chance to learn healthier ways to cope with your emotions.

What are some ways people in recovery can benefit from dialectical behavioral therapy?

There are many ways DBT can help you make progress with recovery from a substance abuse disorder. Some examples include:

  • Regulation of emotion – Many people struggling with addiction use drugs and/or alcohol as a crutch to cope with intense emotions. DBT gives you the skills you need to regulate emotions effectively, reducing the reliance on substances as a means of emotional management. Our skilled staff is compassionate to your struggle with balancing emotions and rely on DBT as an effective treatment method.
  • Stress tolerance – Dialectical behavior therapy teaches you how to tolerate distressing emotions and stressful situations without resorting to former habits, such as substance use. By learning healthy coping mechanisms, we help you develop alternatives to substance use as a response to feelings of stress or discomfort.
  • Improve interpersonal skills – Substance use tends to strain relationships and make it difficult to maintain social connections and support networks. Using dialectical behavior therapy methods at our home-like Greenfield, IN location, we give you the tools to improve your communication skills, set boundaries, and navigate interpersonal conflicts effectively, thereby strengthening social connections and reducing the risk of becoming isolated from your friends and family.
  • Mindfulness – Incorporating mindfulness practices to increase your awareness of thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations in the present moment is a key part of therapy. Our compassionate team works with you to cultivate mindfulness, so you develop greater self-awareness and self-control, which helps prevent impulsive substance use and ensures successful recovery.
  • Addressing underlying issues – At Hickory House Recovery, we focus on you. We believe in taking a holistic approach to your recovery, beginning with addressing underlying issues such as trauma, low self-esteem, or co-occurring mental health disorders that may contribute to your substance use. These underlying issues often have a bigger impact on substance use than many people initially realize. When these issues or other mental health conditions are addressed and begin to improve, it can make a significant difference in your path to recovery. Addressing the root causes of a substance use disorder with DBT helps promote long-term sobriety and recovery.
  • Relapse prevention – Additionally, our DBT program focuses on developing effective and useful coping strategies to prevent relapse. You will learn to identify your triggers, develop action plans for high-risk situations, and build a supportive network to maintain your sobriety and stay on the right path to recovery. And, we walk with you every step of the way.

What should I expect when beginning dialectical behavioral therapy for addiction?

Our primary goal is to help you accept your challenges and who you are, and truly see, understand and embrace the benefits of the changes necessary for recovery and a brighter future. As you progress in our professional dialectical behavior therapy program, you will learn new skills that to help you improve your ability to regulate your emotions. At Hickory House Recovery, we offer group DBT therapy sessions.

During group therapy sessions, our team works with you and other patients in a comfortable group setting. A group DBT session is similar to a learning session in a classroom, with our licensed therapist taking the lead, rather than an open discussion approach that is used in other forms of therapy.

Other treatment goals include limiting negative behaviors that may be holding you back from progressing with recovery, helping you develop new skills that can replace unhelpful behaviors, and improve your overall quality of life. It is common for our therapists to ask you to keep a journal to record your experiences each day and track your emotions. This exercise is a useful way to look for patterns of feelings, behavior, and your actions and reactions. Your journal can be a helpful guide for your therapist to use to plan treatment goals for each therapy session.

What can I expect to learn from DBT for substance abuse and addiction?

A major goal of the DBT program is to help you become more independent and capable as you navigate the usual stressors and challenges that come up in your daily life. Five main skills that our professional DBT therapists focus on include:

Emotional regulation – With well-developed emotional regulation skills, you can apply strategies to identify, manage, and understand your emotions in a healthy and effective manner. Emotional regulation skills include learning to recognize and label your emotions and develop personalized techniques to help you modulate intense feelings and emotions.

Problem solving – Anyone can benefit from strengthening their problem-solving skills. For those in DBT therapy at Hickory House Recovery in Greenfield, IN., the practical skills we help you develop for identifying problems, generating potential solutions, and implementing effective strategies to address challenges will guide you throughout the recovery journey.

Mindfulness – Mindfulness is a useful skill that allows you to be completely aware and focused on the present. When you practice mindfulness, you are tuned in to what is right in front of you, rather than thinking about the past or the future.

Interpersonal skills – Developing strong interpersonal skills allows you to understand and express your needs and set your own personal boundaries. With these skills, you also increase your ability to communicate effectively and assertively and manage your personal relationships in a healthy and constructive manner.

Distress tolerance – Our licensed therapists also teach you techniques to overcome and tolerate distressing situations without falling back into old harmful habits or making impulsive decisions. Some of these skills and techniques include self-soothing, distraction, and understanding and appropriately managing your own emotions in a healthy way.

We believe in a holistic approach to addiction treatment that integrates the latest clinical research with compassionate care. The services available at Hickory House Recovery are grounded in evidence-based practices, such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), which help you develop the skills and strategies you need to manage cravings, regulate emotions, and build a fulfilling life free from substance abuse.

Results after treating alcohol and substance use disorder with DBT

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dialectical behavioral therapy for addiction

It is important to keep in mind that dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is not usually a fast process, and many people need at least six months to a year with consistent DBT treatment in order to see significant progress from this therapeutic approach to substance abuse and addiction treatment. Moreover, mental health conditions and substance use disorders are extremely complex—there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach that works for everyone.

The duration of DBT treatment for substance use disorder can vary depending on several factors, including the severity of addiction, your level of motivation, the presence of co-occurring mental health issues, and the specific treatment plan developed by you and our team.

Research has shown that DBT can be effective in treating substance use disorders, especially when combined with our other evidence-based approaches such as medication-assisted treatment, motivational interviewing, and relapse prevention strategies.

However, it’s important to note that recovery from substance use disorder is a complex and ongoing process, and the length of treatment will be adjusted based on your individual progress and ongoing recovery needs. Additionally, we always recommend ongoing therapy and support groups after completing a formal DBT program to maintain your recovery and prevent relapse and we provide recommendations for your aftercare.

At Hickory House Recovery, we are committed to your recovery.

Dialectical behavioral therapy for addiction and substance use disorder recovery in Indiana

At Hickory House Recovery, located in Greenfield, Indiana, we provide a variety of services, both in-patient and out-patient, including dialectical behavioral therapy for addiction, which help you begin the long road to recovery and break free from addictive substance use habits.

We take pride in helping you embark on a journey toward physical, mental, and emotional wellness. Our staff and licensed therapists are committed to providing comprehensive and personalized treatment that addresses the unique needs and circumstances of everyone we serve.

If you or a loved one has been struggling with alcohol or substance abuse and addiction, Hickory House Recovery is here to help. Contact us online today or by calling 1-800-604-2117 to learn more about our programs and begin your journey to a brighter, healthier future. Calls are answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and are always confidential. Your path to recovery starts here.

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Licenses, Accreditations & Memberships


Hickory House Recovery has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Behavioral Health Care Accreditation by demonstrating continuous compliance with its performance standards. The Gold Seal of Approval® is a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to providing safe and effective care and is one of the highest levels of achievement a treatment center can receive.