Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), is a comprehensive cognitive behavioral treatment that was designed to treat individuals who see little or no improvement with other models of therapy. The goal of DBT is to transform negative thinking patterns and destructive behaviors into positive outcomes by focusing on problem solving and acceptance-based strategies within a context of dialectical methods. The term dialectical refers to the processes of blending opposite concepts such as change and acceptance.
Therapists who use DBT offer acceptance and support to people in therapy, many of whom have conditions described as “difficult to treat,” as they work to develop techniques in order to achieve goals, greater overall mental and emotional well-being, and lasting positive change.
What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?
DBT was originally designed as a treatment for people experiencing chronic suicidal thoughts as a symptom of borderline personality; DBT is currently used to treat people who experience an array of chronic or severe mental health issues, including self-harm, eating and food issues, addiction, and posttraumatic stress, as well as borderline personality.
DBT focuses on:
- Identifying and labeling emotions.
- Identifying obstacles to changing emotions.
- Reducing vulnerability to emotion.
- Increasing positive emotional events.
- Increasing mindfulness to current emptions.
- Taking opposite actions.
- Applying distress tolerance techniques.
What skills will be taught?
The skills learned from DBT can easily be incorporated into a person’s everyday routine. The individual learns the deeper meaning and purpose behind each skill. The person has the understanding that these skills are essential for self-growth and a healthful human being.
Mindfulness: DBT helps individuals establish techniques for mindful eating and acceptance of the present moment. Patients will keep a diary and reflect on their moments of difficulty and success on their journey.
Distress Tolerance: Individuals will learn how to cope with situations that cause stress and anxiety by reframing their thoughts, implementing self-soothing techniques, and understanding the present moment.
Interpersonal Effectiveness: DBT helps individuals learn how to establish what they want and how to assess their needs while maintaining self-respect and healthy relationships with others.
Emotional Regulation: DBT seeks to aid individuals in how to understand, adapt, and change their emotions to improve their mindset and take positive actions.