Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a skills based model of psychotherapy that provides concrete, practical tools for coping with difficult emotions and challenges.
DBT is a behavioral approach to treatment, designed to help one better understand the connection between their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Identifying and understanding our vulnerabilities allows us to cope better when we feel triggered or dysregulated. By increasing our awareness of what we feel and why, we can either prevent unwanted emotions from happening in the first place, or respond more effectively when they do arise.
What makes DBT a unique treatment model is its emphasis on dialectical thinking. Dialectical thinking is the ability to accept two opposing viewpoints at the same time. In DBT, one learns to accept reality as it is, while simultaneously changing the thoughts and behaviors that are no longer serving them.
In DBT treatment, you’ll gain skills in the following areas:
- Learn how to direct your attention to the present moment to reduce suffering
- Emotion Regulation
- Understand what emotions do for you, where they come from, and how to regulate them
- Distress Tolerance
- Survive crisis moments without avoiding them or making them worse
- Interpersonal Effectiveness
- Identify, build, and maintain healthy relationships.
Comprehensive DBT has 3 parts:
The therapist helps the patient stay motivated, apply the DBT skills within daily life, and address obstacles that might arise over the course of treatment.
Sessions are held weekly and focus on learning and practicing practical skills related to Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Distress Tolerance, and Emotion Regulation.
Coaching sessions are used on an as-needed basis, and are typically between 5-15 minutes long. During these sessions, the therapist helps the client access their toolbox and identify which skill would be most effective in managing their presenting problem.
DBT is evidence based and has been proven effective to treat:
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Binge eating disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Major depressive disorder (including treatment-resistant major depression and chronic depression)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Substance use disorder
- Borderline Personality Disorder