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In this Good Morning Vail interview, APN Lodge’s Eva Goode, LCSW, explains what Dialectical Behavior Therapy is, who it can help, and how it can improve the lives of those who explore this therapy.

Goode is one of the primary therapists at APN Lodge. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is her specialty. 

“Dialectical means two opposing forces in the world that can be true at the same time,” Goode says. For example, a skier happens upon a big cliff and feels two urges simultaneously. First, the skier really wants to go off the cliff because it would be exciting and fun. The second feeling is terror.

“So, there’s two opposing forces true at the same time,” Goode says. “Being able to hold those two truths at the same time can bring a lot of inner peace.”

In this instance, the skier who has practiced DBT is not judging herself or himself for feeling both terrified and excited, Goode explains.

So, how does DBT work on a more practical level?

Goode illustrates an example of two co-workers with differing opinions. Suppose her co-worker strongly dislikes traffic circles, but she actually enjoys them. “Both of our truths can be true at the same time,” Goode says. “I’m not right and he’s not wrong. We don’t have to be in conflict. They’re just opinions. His is valid and so is mine.”

“This can bring us a lot of peace in relationships,” Goode adds.

Goode was originally introduced to DBT while working at an adolescent treatment center. She witnessed how much peace it could bring into her clients’ lives. “As years went on and I was doing it, I realized it was bringing a lot of peace into my life,” she says, explaining the origin of how she came to be a DBT specialist.

Being a firsthand witness to the benefits of DBT, Goode pursued it with intensity. She received special training and worked for years in the field before coming to APN Lodge.

In practice, DBT has a skills-training component with four modules: mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness (which means effectiveness in relationships). Clients discuss how to apply each of these with their therapist, and then go out and apply them to their own lives.

“Practice is probably one of the biggest portions of it,” Goode says. “You can sit and learn something but if you don’t go apply it to your relationship, or if you don’t go use the mindfulness and awareness in your life, it’s less effective.”

Goode says DBT is a great option for people who feel that their emotions are out of control. It also holds benefits for anyone. 

“If you struggle with up and down emotions, if you struggle with any addictions, these up and down emotions could be causing a desire to use a substance or use a process addiction to cope, and so [DBT] could be really helpful for that.”