Selena Gomez shared that she practices techniques from a particular form of therapy daily to help manage her mental well-being. Gomez, who revealed last year that she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, has also spoken about her history with depression and anxiety.
“I’ve studied DBT, which is dialectical behavior therapy,” Gomez told Australian Vogue when asked how she manages her day-to-day mental health now. “I feel like I practice [DBT] every day.” Previously, Gomez told Vogue that DBT “completely changed [her] life,” and said she wished more people felt comfortable talking openly about therapy.
DBT combines techniques from other types of therapy, including cognitive-behavioral therapy and mindfulness, the American Psychological Association (APA) explains. It typically requires striking a balance between helping the patient accept certain things about the reality of their life while also teaching them skills to change other things, including dysfunctional behaviors, the APA says. In particular, DBT is known to help patients learn practical techniques to help them regulate their emotions and deal with distress. This type of therapy is considered the first-line treatment for borderline personality disorder but is also commonly used for patients with bipolar disorder, PTSD, and eating disorders.
Gomez also spoke about her encounters with the stigma surrounding mental illness and seeking treatment. “I’ve been to four treatment centers,” she said. “I think in mental health, I never understood the stigma until I went to my first treatment center because that was years ago. But then there was a photograph that got out, and it’s wild to see how mean they were.” Gomez, who will turn 29 in July, recalled seeing the media talk about her as a “childhood star” and say, “She’s doing drugs.”
These days, slowly but surely, that’s changing, she said. “Now, if any media outlet made fun of me, they’re the ones that look like the asshole because we don’t tolerate that anymore.”
Gomez also emphasized that caring for your mental health is a long-term process, and offered advice to those who are dealing with a mental illness right now. “My advice isn’t going to be: ‘Oh, you’re going to get over it.’ It’s actually an everyday practice,” she said, adding that she tries to monitor her emotional and mental states. “So if I’m thinking about something, I want to catch it before then. Or if I’ve been alone and isolated for too long, I’ll be like: ‘Oh wait, I need to be around people I love,’” she explained. “And like I said, I also go to therapy. You can find ways to live in it. But once you understand it, the fear of you admitting that you have something goes away.”
For her, this type of self-care is also a crucial part of managing her lupus. Gomez said that, due to her diagnosis and the kidney transplant she received in 2017, she’s had to “set boundaries to ensure my health always comes first.” If she feels “overextended,” Gomez said she knows she needs to pull back in order to get regular sleep and spend time with friends and family. Looking to the future, Gomez said she feels more secure about herself. “I’m just really happy with who I am. I’m grateful that as I step into 29—even just two years ago—I was different,” she said. “It’s only gotten better.”