What is Dialectical Behaviour Therapy?

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, also known as DBT, is an evidence-based treatment that was created in the 1980s by Dr. Marsha Linehan to help people who experience severe emotions that cause significant problems in their lives and who struggle with regulating those intense emotions. The therapy combines strategies such as mindfulness and distress tolerance skills with traditional cognitive behavioural strategies and group support to help people learn new ways of relating to their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours in order to lead more satisfying lives. Here’s what you need to know about how DBT works and why it may be right for you.

What is Dialectical Behaviour Therapy?

DBT is a group of approaches used to treat people who have problems with emotions. People may show their emotions in inappropriate ways, or have trouble identifying and expressing them at all. DBT helps people express themselves in a more healthy way, and better understand how their thoughts and behaviours affect other people in relationships. It also teaches problem-solving skills so that they can effectively deal with problems as they arise. DBT originated from therapy methods developed by psychologist Marsha Linehan for treating chronically suicidal individuals who had struggled with treatment for years using traditional therapies.

Common DBT Principles

Distress Tolerance: Learn to be present with your pain, or cravings, instead of overreacting or avoiding it. This means learning how to relax your mind and body as well as learning ways to cope with overwhelming emotions and thoughts. Mindfulness is a skill that will help you do just that. You can also begin to identify triggers for unhealthy behaviours so you can respond more appropriately in difficult situations. For example, if you are overwhelmed by thoughts about an upcoming social event, you might use DBT skills such as relaxation exercises, mindfulness meditation or opposite action (doing something healthy rather than drinking) to cope with these challenging feelings until they pass.

DT Treatment

What are the Benefits of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)?

Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) is a psychotherapy created by Marsha Linehan that has been shown to be very effective for certain types of people. The treatment helps patients with issues including borderline personality disorder, suicidal and self-harming behaviour, depression, substance abuse and eating disorders. Treatment generally consists of weekly individual sessions together with weekly group skills training sessions and phone coaching.

DBT Skills Training

The main idea behind dialectical behaviour therapy is that people with emotional problems don’t just feel bad; they do things to feel worse. To put it another way, DBT says that we’re responsible for our feelings and actions – even when there’s a mental health problem in play. This might sound like an obvious concept, but it can be hard to make sense of if you haven’t been through therapy or tried any kind of mental health support. Here are some of DBT skills in action


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