Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy. Its four main components are to teach people how to live in the moment (mindfulness), develop healthy ways to cope with stress (distress tolerance), regulate their emotions (emotion regulation), and improve their relationships with others (interpersonal effectiveness).
DBT was originally intended to treat borderline personality disorder but has been adapted to treat several other mental health conditions as well, including but not limited to the following:
-Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
-Eating disorders (such as anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and bulimia nervosa)
-Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
-Major depressive disorder (including treatment-resistant major depression and chronic depression)
-Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
-Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
-Substance use disorders
How it works:
DBT has evolved to become an evidence-based psychotherapy approach that is used to treat many conditions. DBT can be used in different therapeutic settings:
Group settings where clients are taught behavioral skills by completing homework assignments and role-playing new ways of interacting with others.
Individual therapy with a trained professional where a client’s learned behavioral skills are adapted to their personal life challenges.
Other important characteristics of DBT:
Acceptance and change. You’ll learn strategies to accept and tolerate your life circumstances, emotions, and yourself. You will also develop skills that can help you make positive changes in your behaviors and interactions with others.
Behavioral. You’ll learn to analyze problems or destructive behavior patterns and replace them with more healthy and effective ones.
Cognitive. You’ll focus on changing thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, and actions that are not effective or helpful.
Skill sets. You’ll learn new skills to enhance your capabilities.
Support. You’ll be encouraged to recognize your positive strengths and attributes and develop and use them.