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What is Dialectical Behaviour Therapy?

Updated: Feb 13, 2023

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is a type of talk therapy that combines cognitive-behavioral therapy with Eastern mindfulness practices. The goal of DBT is to help individuals regulate their emotions, reduce conflict in their relationships, and improve their overall quality of life. The creator of DBT, Marsha Linehan, defines “dialectical” as a synthesis or integration of opposites. In DBT we work with two forces in supposed opposition of each other.

The first is acceptance, knowing the truth of our circumstances and acknowledging what we do and do not have control over. The second force is change, which involves planning and taking action to change our circumstances. Both aspects are important for moving through the DBT process and learning how to better cope with life’s challenges, leading to a more fulfilling life.

DBT is also based on the idea that individuals can have intense and conflicting emotions, which can lead to unhealthy behaviors. DBT aims to help individuals understand and regulate their emotions, learn new coping skills, and improve their interpersonal relationships.

In DBT, individuals work with a therapist to learn new skills and strategies for managing their emotions, such as mindfulness, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance. They also learn new communication and interpersonal skills, such as effective problem-solving and assertiveness.

DBT is often used to treat individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder, but it can also be helpful for individuals with other mental health concerns, such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. By teaching new skills and strategies for managing emotions, DBT can help individuals lead a more fulfilling and healthy life.

Above is a tool for evaluating decision-making called Wise Mind. When we are making choices based solely on emotion or logic, we tend to ignore important aspects of our needs. This can lead to emotional regulation or distress.

DBT emphasizes skill development and has an abundance of resources, tools, and worksheets to help strengthen practice skills and create more harmony in your life.


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