Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)?
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a skills-based type of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The primary goals of DBT include helping people regulate their emotions, have more successful interpersonal relationships, increase their distress tolerance, and be more mindful of thoughts, feelings, and their environment. Though it was designed to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD), DBT is also effective in treating substance use disorder as well as a variety of mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, and eating disorders.
How Does DBT Work?
DBT is an evidence-based treatment that combines elements of CBT with the Zen Buddhist methods of meditation and self-awareness. Through individual DBT sessions and DBT skills groups, our clients learn how to incorporate DBT skills into their everyday lives. Our program consists of four stages:
- Stage 1 lays the foundation for recovery by helping clients gain control over life-threatening behaviors, behaviors that interfere with treatment, and behaviors that interfere with daily life.
- Stage 2 is about helping clients express their feelings in a healthy way by teaching them to identify, experience, and better express their emotions.
- Stage 3 focuses on problem solving to help clients tackle everyday issues and challenges in a more positive way.
- Stage 4 brings all the lessons and skills of the preceding stages together to help clients better connect with others.
DBT Skills Training
Learning skills and how to apply them in everyday situations is a vital component of our DBT program. Most of the skills training occur in a class-like group setting, during which clients have homework every week to practice the skills in real life.
- Mindfulness is an essential skill that teaches clients to accept moments in the present, preventing them from acting or reacting with negative behaviors.
- Interpersonal effectiveness helps clients in their interactions with others. They learn how to ask for what they want, refuse an offer, and cope with conflicts in healthy, effective ways.
- Distress tolerance is a DBT skill that teaches clients how to deal with pain. It’s a natural development from mindfulness that helps them tolerate and survive crises.
- Emotion regulation allows clients to identify and label their emotions and obstacles so that they can apply distress tolerance strategies. They also learn how to increase mindfulness as well as how to react positively to emotional events.