Selena Gomez Loves DBT (and We Do, Too)

In the April 2017 issue of Vogue magazine, Selena Gomez opens up about her experiences with anxiety, panic attacks and depression. Gomez states in the Vogue interview, “DBT has completely changed my life.” If you're wondering what DBT is, our expert explains.

In the April 2017 issue of Vogue magazine, Selena Gomez opens up about her experiences with anxiety, panic attacks and depression. She shares the intensive therapy regimen that got her through a very difficult time, including individual and group therapy and equine therapy at an inpatient psychiatric center in Tennessee. She reportedly continues to meet with her therapist five days a week
Gomez states in the Vogue interview, “DBT has completely changed my life.”
Selena Gomez is not alone. We also love DBT.
How DBT helps us heal
DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) emphasizes the development of four core skill sets:

  1. Mindfulness skills
  2. Distress tolerance skills
  3. Emotional regulation skills
  4. Interpersonal effectiveness skills

More than just teaching skills, however, DBT focuses on principles and strategies that can help you build a life worth living.
Some of the principles that that DBT focuses on include:

  • Becoming aware of and accepting where you are now
  • Becoming aware of and accepting the feelings you have now
  • Accepting reality so that you can continue to move forward
  • Knowing that it’s OK to feel how you feel
  • Knowing that it’s OK to have painful and difficult emotions
  • Teaching you skills to push for the change you need to make in recovery

DBT also helps us build upon and create stronger and more connected relationships.
DBT for eating disorders

Dr. Ellen Astrachan-Fletcher, Executive Clinical Director of Insight Behavioral Health Center at Eating Recovery Center, Illinois, explains how DBT is used in eating disorder treatment:
“Dialectical Behavior Therapy has been shown to be quite effective for people struggling with bulimia and binge eating disorders. People with these issues tend to be emotionally under-controlled, struggling with high sensitivity, high reactivity and a slow return to baseline. Dialectical Behavior Therapy can teach the skills necessary to better observe, tolerate and exist within this emotional temperament.
Radically open DBT is a new treatment that is showing promise [for those with anorexia].

Radically Open DBT focuses on helping over-controlled people increase the following traits:

  • Receptivity and openness
  • Adaptability
  • Intimacy and connectedness

The main goal of DBT treatment is to help an individual create a life they want to be present in. When this goal is accomplished, target behaviors (including eating disorders, substance abuse, suicidal ideation and self-injury) will no longer be used to escape discomfort and emotional pain.”
DBT and mental health
DBT is helpful not just those with eating disorders, but for anyone who is working on healing from a number of mental health issues. With DBT, we can work on fully accepting where we are in the present movement as we work to make changes. DBT teaches us that the pain of avoidance is often worse than the pain of facing what we are actively avoiding! You can learn more about DBT by making an appointment with a mental health counselor that specializes in DBT.
You can also see more from Selena Gomez in Netflix’ 13 Reasons Why, a miniseries that addresses a number of issues, including teen suicide. Selena, we thank you for raising awareness of these issues.

dialectical behavior therapy
dr ellen astrachan fletcher
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