Selena Gomez Talks About The Therapy That Changed Her Life

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Selena Gomez hasn’t kept her battles with anxiety and depression a secret, but she recently opened up even more, discussing her recovery and specific methods used by her therapist.

The actress and singer checked into rehab in 2016 due to anxiety, depression and panic attacks related to lupus. Now, in a new interview with Vogue, she revealed that Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is working for her. She says the treatments, which she has five times a week, have changed her life.

DBT is a cognitive behavioral treatment (CBT) originally created to help chronically suicidal people who were diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Research, however, has shown that it is effective in treating multiple disorders, such as substance dependence, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and eating disorders.

The treatment method was developed by psychologist Dr. Marsha Linehan after she began to see that CBT—which is considered the gold standard in anxiety treatments—wasn’t working for some of her patients. Instead of an emphasis on changing thoughts and behaviors (like with CBT), DBT emphasizes mindfulness and dialectical thinking (which, in a very simplified definition, means being able to examine or hold two opposing thoughts at once).

Basically, instead of treating symptoms as problems that need to be solved, DBT places an emphasis on the acceptance of the experiences as they are, in that moment. The treatment can be in individual or group sessions.

To break it down even further, there are four sets of behavioral skills taught in DBT:

  • Mindfulness: Being fully aware and present in the moment
  • Distress Tolerance: Tolerating pain in difficult situations, not trying to change it
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness: Asking for what you want and saying no while maintaining self-respect and relationships
  • Emotion Regulation: Learning how to change emotions you want to change

“I wish more people would talk about therapy,” Gomez told Vogue. “We girls, we’re taught to be almost too resilient, to be strong and sexy and cool and laid-back, the girl who’s down. We also need to feel allowed to fall apart.”

selena gomez photo
Getty Images | Kevin Winter

Since her time in rehab, Gomez has produced a Netflix series about teen suicide. She says the series hits home for her.

“Kids have to see something that’s frightening, I want them to understand I definitely relate to everything,” she told Deadline. “I was a mess.”

She is also taking a break from Instagram (hers was the most-followed account on the social network) and no longer has the app on her phone—or the password.

“As soon as I became the most followed person on Instagram, I sort of freaked out,” she said. “It had become so consuming to me. It’s what I woke up to and went to sleep to. I was an addict, and it felt like I was seeing things I didn’t want to see, like it was putting things in my head that I didn’t want to care about… Look, I love what I do, and I’m aware of how lucky I am, but—how can I say this without sounding weird? I just really can’t wait for people to forget about me.”

If you’re seeking treatment and believe DBT could be right for you, click here to search for a therapist in your area.

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Kaitlin Gates
Kaitlin is a freelance multimedia journalist with a degree in journalism and psychology. Along with Simplemost, she also writes for Don't Waste Your Money, where she loves finding great deals to help people save money. Visit Scripps News to see more of Kaitlin's work.

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