Emotionally Focused Individual Therapy (EFIT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) can help create a sense of control and happiness in your life. People often want to know whether EFIT or DBT is the better approach for them or a family member. Click here to learn about these treatment approaches, as well as some information about who might be best suited to each type of therapy.
My name is Stephen Stepanovich I specialize in working with behavioral issues, mental health disorders, and family/relationship problems. I’m the therapist people come to (including other therapists) when the help they need is hard to find in traditional therapy. I have helped many people get well who didn’t think they could, sometimes after trying unsuccessfully with other counselors.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), is a form of cognitive behavior therapy developed by Marsha Linehan, Ph.D. at the University of Washington. I have trained extensively in DBT and attended a two-week intensive training conducted by Dr. Linehan herself as well as attending several other DBT workshops.
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Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is a well-known humanistic approach to psychotherapy formulated in the 1980’s and developed in tandem with the science of adult attachment, a profound developmental theory of personality and intimate relationships. This science has expanded our understanding of individual dysfunction and health as well as the nature of love relationships and family bonds. Attachment views human beings as innately relational, social and wired for intimate bonding with others. The EFT model prioritizes emotion and emotional regulation as the key organizing agents in individual experience and key relationship interactions.
EFT is best known as a cutting edge, tested and proven couple intervention, but it is also used to address individual depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress (EFIT – Emotionally Focused Individual Therapy) and to repair family bonds (EFFT – Emotionally Focused Family Therapy). This model operationalizes the principles of attachment science using non-pathologizing experiential (paralleling Carl Rogers) and relational systems techniques (paralleling Salvador Minuchin) to focus on and change core organizing factors in both the self and key relationships.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy or DBT is based on CBT, with more focus on the emotional and social aspects. DBT helps people cope with extreme or unstable emotions and harmful behaviors. DBT is an evidence-based approach to help people better regulate emotions. It started as a treatment for borderline personality disorder, and current research shows it may help with many different mental illnesses or concerns, particularly self-harm.
Key differences between CBT and DBT are validation and relationships. DBT teaches you that your experiences are real, and it shows you how to accept who you are, regardless of challenges or difficult experiences. Relationships are also very important in DBT—including the relationships between you and your DBT therapist. You may have frequent check-ins to talk about any successes or problems. Treatment can include a mix of one-on-one counseling sessions and skills training sessions. In addition to CBT skills, you’ll gain tools for managing your emotions, building relationships with others, coping well with problems or distress, acceptance, and mindfulness.