By Megan Samuels, MSW, LMSW, Outreach Coordinator
Dialectical Behavior Therapy, or DBT for short, is a treatment modality that has research to support its effectiveness for the treatment of suicidality, borderline personality disorder, eating disorders, and self harm behaviors. It has four sections, also known as modules, which are mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance, and emotion regulation. All of these components are helpful to the process of recovering from an eating disorder.
One skill in the emotion regulation module of DBT is learning to cope ahead for future situations that may be triggering. For a lot of folks in eating disorder recovery, the holidays can be an activating time. Here are some ways that the holidays can bring up eating disorder thoughts and behaviors (please note that this list is not exhaustive):
There are five steps in the cope ahead skill. I will outline the steps below and then I will walk you through an example.
**It’s important to note that it is not helpful to beat yourself up for binge eating and that binge eating and other eating disorder behaviors may be a resilient attempt at coping with experiences of oppression, trauma, difficult emotions, etc. AND in the long-run it is likely not serving you.
This skill can be practiced for any event or situation that may trigger a problematic behavior. If you are not sure where to start, you can think about the eating disorder behaviors that you engage in and what potential holiday situations may increase the likelihood of those behaviors occurring.
Another note about this skill, we want to begin to use this skill when we are feeling regulated (ventral vagal nervous system state) and not activated in order to strengthen the adaptive coping neural networks in our brain.
For an introduction on what DBT is and how it can be applied to eating disorder recovery, please check out this blog:
Want more? The majority of the therapists at The Eating Disorder Center have extensive training and experience in using Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) as an effective treatment modality for eating disorders. Contact us for a free 15-minute consultation today!
DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition by Marsha M. Linehan. Copyright 2015 by Marsha M. Linehan.
*Disclaimer: The information is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for your independent medical decision-making nor a recommendation or endorsement for any particular treatment plan, organization, provider, professional service, or product. You assume all responsibility and risk for any use of the information.
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The Eating Disorder Center is a premier outpatient eating disorder therapy center founded by Jennifer Rollin. We specialize in helping teens and adults struggling with anorexia, binge eating disorder, bulimia, OSFED, and body image issues. We provide eating disorder therapy in Rockville, MD, easily accessible to individuals in Potomac, North Potomac, Bethesda, Olney, Silver Spring, Germantown, and Washington D.C. We also provide eating disorder therapy in Arlington, Virginia and virtually throughout Virginia. Additionally, we offer eating disorder therapy virtually in New York (NYC), Florida, and California. We provide eating disorder recovery coaching via Zoom to people worldwide. Connect with us through our website at www.theeatingdisordercenter.com
The Eating Disorder Center
We are a premier outpatient eating disorder therapy center in Rockville, Maryland.