True Life Care Mental Health New Jersey

Dialectical Behavior Therapy for PTSD

Learn more about dialectical behavior therapy for PTSD at True Life Care in New Jersey in this comprehensive article. Contact us for PTSD with Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Treatment Services in New Jersey. 

What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy for PTSD?

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a therapeutic approach for treating PTSD. Originally, psychologist Marsha M. Linehan developed DBT to treat borderline personality disorder.1 DBT has since proven effective in addressing various mental health conditions. This includes post traumatic stress disorder.

Dialectical behavior therapy is an important part of treatment at True Life Care in New Jersey. It is an important treatment component of PTSD.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy for PTSD New Jersey

How Does Dialectical Behavior Therapy for PTSD Address Symptoms?

To address PTSD symptoms, DBT focuses on several key components:

  • Emotional regulation
  • Distress tolerance
  • Interpersonal effectiveness
  • Mindfulness
  • Trauma processing

The Techniques of Dialectical Behavior Therapy for PTSD

Dialectical behavior therapy for PTSD incorporates several core components and techniques. These include the following:
  • Dialectics
  • Mindfulness
  • Emotional regulation
  • Distress tolerance
  • Interpersonal effectiveness
DBT combines elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) with mindfulness practices.2


DBT embraces the concept of dialectics. This concept involves finding a balance between acceptance and change. In the context of PTSD, this means accepting the reality of trauma while working toward healing and recovery.


Mindfulness is a fundamental aspect of DBT. It involves techniques to help patients develop greater self-awareness. Observe thoughts and emotions without becoming overwhelmed. Techniques that help include focused breathing and body scan exercises.

Emotion Regulation

With PTSD, it is often difficult to process emotions. DBT provides strategies to help patients understand and regulate intense emotions. The skills learned in emotion regulation can help with managing PTSD.
These skills include the following:
  • Emotion labeling
  • Identifying triggers
  • Developing healthy coping mechanisms

Distress Tolerance

PTSD symptoms can lead to distressing experiences and overwhelming emotions. DBT equips individuals with distress tolerance skills.

These skills are for navigating situations without resorting to harmful behaviors. Crisis survival strategies such as self-soothing help to manage distress.

Interpersonal Effectiveness

Trauma can strain relationships and interactions. DBT enhances interpersonal effectiveness by teaching the following:
  • Assertiveness
  • Active listening
  • Boundary setting

These skills enable individuals to communicate their needs and establish healthier relationships. They also help with navigating social challenges related to trauma.

Processing PTSD through Integrating DBT

DBT provides a stable foundation for patients to engage in trauma-focused therapy. Patients learn to cope with distressing memories or triggers. Dialectical behavior therapy for PTSD helps develop emotion regulation and distress tolerance skills.

Dialectical behavior therapy for PTSD is often integrated with other evidence-based treatments. Combined, they provide a comprehensive approach to trauma recovery. These treatments provide patients with strategies to address the challenges of PTSD.

Specialized DBT Programs

There are specialized programs we incorporate during dialectical behavior therapy for PTSD. These integrated programs provide a more direct approach to specific therapy focuses.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy-Prolonged Exposure (DBT-PE)

This therapy integrates DBT and prolonged exposure therapy. The latter is a well-established trauma-focused treatment for PTSD. At True Life Care in New Jersey, we use this combined approach to help patients cope with deeply rooted trauma.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (DBT-PTSD)

DBT-PTSD is a modification of standard dialectical behavior therapy. It includes specific modules and techniques to address PTSD symptoms. DBT for PTSD helps patients manage PTSD-related triggers and flashbacks.

Dialectical behavior therapy for PTSD may involve the following:

  • Trauma education
  • Grounding techniques
  • Learning specialized skills

Trauma-Focused DBT (TF-DBT)

TF-DBT is an informed treatment model for patients who have experienced complex trauma. It combines traditional DBT skills with trauma-focused interventions.

These interventions include the following:

  • Trauma narrative work
  • Cognitive processing strategies
  • Somatic experiencing techniques

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)

Our treatment center offers specialized DBT-based intensive outpatient programs. For patients with PTSD, these programs offer comprehensive treatment.

An IOP may implement the following treatments:

  • Individual and group therapy
  • Skills training
  • Trauma-focused interventions

How Does Dialectical Behavior Therapy Differ from Other Therapy Approaches to Treating PTSD?

Dialectical behavior therapy for PTSD differs from other therapy approaches. The emphasis and focus is specific.

At True Life Care in New Jersey, we integrate combined therapy to treat PTSD. Read on to learn more.

Emphasis on Dialectics

DBT incorporates the concept of dialectics. This involves finding a balance between acceptance and change. In the context of PTSD, this means accepting the reality of trauma and its impact.

By doing this, patients work towards healing and recovery. This approach helps patients develop skills to manage distress. It also helps to foster a sense of hope and empowerment.

Integration of Various Components

DBT combines various therapeutic components into a comprehensive treatment approach. At True Life Care in New Jersey this means incorporating the following:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Mindfulness practices
  • Emotion regulation
  • Distress tolerance
  • Interpersonal effectiveness

This integrative approach teaches appropriate skills to address the complex symptoms of PTSD.

Focus on Skills Training

DBT places a strong emphasis on skills training. Individuals with PTSD often struggle in areas like emotional regulation. With PTSD, it is common to face challenges in developing healthy coping skills.

DBT provides structured and systematic training in these areas. It teaches specific skills to manage PTSD. These can be applied to real-life situations.

Mindfulness as a Core Skill

DBT highlights mindfulness as a core component. Mindfulness involves cultivating present-moment awareness. These skills enhance emotional regulation and create a foundation for effective coping.

Therapeutic Relationship and Validation

DBT places great importance on the therapeutic relationship. Therapists using DBT strive to create a supportive and non-judgmental environment. Through this approach, patients with PTSD are more at peace with the healing process.

Stage-Based Treatment

DBT often follows a stage-based model, where treatment progresses through different stages. In this way, progress is aligned with the readiness of the individual.

Stage-based treatment may involve the following before engaging in trauma-processing work:

  • Stabilizing symptoms
  • Building coping skills
  • Addressing behavioral dysregulation

Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy Effective for Individuals with Complex or Chronic PTSD?

DBT can be beneficial for individuals with complex or chronic PTSD. There are many options for PTSD treatment at True Life Care in New Jersey. We can help you determine if DBT is an appropriate choice for addressing your symptoms.

Comprehensive Skill-Building

DBT offers a wide range of relevant skills for managing complex PTSD symptoms. These skills include the following:
  • Emotion regulation
  • Distress tolerance
  • Interpersonal effectiveness
  • Mindfulness

Patients can cope with distress and regulate intense emotions by developing these skills. They can also improve relationships and cultivate present-moment awareness.

Addressing Emotional Dysregulation

Complex PTSD often involves difficulties with emotional regulation. DBT provides specific strategies to help individuals identify and manage emotions. These skills can benefit those struggling with mood swings or self-destructive behaviors.

Trauma-Informed Approach

DBT incorporates a trauma-informed approach. We recognize the impact of trauma on an individual’s life and functioning. Therapists using DBT can adapt treatment to address trauma-related symptoms and challenges.

We integrate the following in treatment:

  • Trauma education
  • Understanding and patience
  • Skills for a successful healing process
  • Grounding techniques

Stage-Based Treatment

DBT follows a stage-based model, tailoring treatment to the patient. We consider the level of readiness and the needs of each patient before moving on to the next stage of healing. For individuals with complex PTSD, building coping skills is necessary and important.

Stage-based treatment lays the foundation for successful trauma processing. PTSD is a unique experience for every individual. Our stage-based approach of DBT allows for flexibility in treatment.

Supportive Therapeutic Relationship

A positive relationship between the therapist and patient is a crucial aspect of DBT. Our therapists strive to create a supportive and validating environment. This fosters a sense of safety and trust, which is necessary for healing.

While DBT is effective for complex PTSD, it may not be the only treatment needed for complete healing. Trauma-focused therapies are used in conjunction with DBT for effective treatment.

Research Studies on the Use of Dialectical Behavior Therapy for PTSD

Although the research on DBT for PTSD is still growing, several studies support its effectiveness on PTSD.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy for PTSD following Childhood Abuse

In a randomized controlled trial, the effectiveness of DBT was examined. The study involved individuals with PTSD resulting from childhood abuse. The trial focused on patients with and without comorbid borderline personality disorder.
The study found that DBT led to significant improvements in PTSD symptoms. This improvement is regardless of the presence of BPD.3

Dialectical Behavior Therapy for PTSD with Integrated Prolonged Exposure Therapy

A study developed and evaluated a DBT-based protocol for prolonged exposure therapy. Participants were women with complex PTSD and comorbid borderline personality disorder.
The findings suggested that this integrated treatment approach reduced PTSD symptoms. It was also beneficial in treating self-injurious behaviors and suicide attempts.4

DBT for Co-Occurring Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

An important study explored the impact of comorbid PTSD in women with borderline personality disorder. The results indicated that DBT helped reduce suicidal behaviors regardless of co-occuring PTSD.5

The Importance of Clinical Trials

It’s recommended to consult scientific literature databases or clinical trial registries. There are several recent research studies and ongoing clinical trials. They can provide insights into treatment for co-occurring PTSD.

How Does Dialectical Behavior Therapy for PTSD Address Emotional Dysregulation?

Dialectical behavior therapy addresses the emotional dysregulation associated with PTSD. Through specific components and techniques, DBT can enhance emotional regulation skills.

Emotion Regulation Skills Training

Understanding emotions is important for emotional processing. We teach skills that help with identifying and regulating emotions.

Emotion Labeling

Emotional labeling helps identify emotions that affect PTSD. Patients can gain a better awareness of their emotional experiences. This is a stepping stone to emotional regulation.

Opposite Action

Emotional regulation encourages individuals to act against distressing emotions. This helps to disrupt patterns of emotional dysregulation.


We help our patients develop skills to identify factors contributing to emotional distress. This includes coping with triggers and addressing underlying causes.

Accumulating Positive Emotions

Engaging in activities that elicit positive emotions is an effective part of healing. Dialectical behavioral therapy helps accumulate positive emotions in daily life.

Checking the Facts

Examine the evidence for emotional reactions. This challenges distorted or exaggerated thinking. This kind of thought can contribute to emotional dysregulation.

Distress Tolerance Skills

DBT equips individuals with tools to tolerate distressing emotions associated with PTSD. These help individuals stay present and regulate emotions during distressing moments. Our patients learn to do this without resorting to impulsive or self-destructive behaviors.

Distress tolerance skills include the following:

  • Self-soothing techniques
  • Grounding exercises
  • Distraction strategies

Trauma Narrative Work

Individuals with PTSD can integrate trauma narrative work as a part of treatment. This involves exploring and processing traumatic memories with a therapist’s support.
By integrating emotional regulation skills, patients can develop stability and coping strategies. These skills are necessary for engaging in trauma-processing.

DBT helps individuals with PTSD develop greater emotional control. Treatment provides patients with practical tools to navigate and regulate PTSD-related triggers.

Behavior Therapy for PTSD New Jersey

How Can True Life Care Help Those with PTSD?

True Life Care offers a range of specialized treatments. These include cognitive-behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy for PTSD. Integrated therapies have proven effective in targeting the underlying causes of PTSD symptoms.

The Benefits of Treatment at True Life Care

Addressing PTSD symptoms reaps the following benefits:
  • Reduced distress
  • Improved functioning
  • Healthier relationships
  • Enhanced well-being

Dialectical Behavior Therapy for PTSD at True Life Care

Dialectical behavior therapy for PTSD programs can vary. Treatment for PTSD involves various techniques and treatments. True Life Care offers comprehensive care for those with PTSD.

While DBT is beneficial in treating PTSD, different therapeutic approaches are also needed. Our medical professionals can help you find a suitable program based on your needs.

Reach Out to True Life Care

At True Life Care in New Jersey, we specialize in helping individuals struggling with PTSD. We can help you find the right treatment for effective recovery. Reach out today for a professional consultation. Discover relief from PTSD with Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) in New Jersey. 


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Questions About Treatment?

If you or a loved one have questions regarding recovery, or are to begin regaining autonomy over your health and well-being, don’t hesitate to reach out to True Life Care for support. We are here to empower you to lead the happy, healthy, and fulfilling life you deserve.