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Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

What is DBT?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) focuses on teaching people strategies to help them live their best and most productive life. DBT is often used to help people with depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorders, addictions, eating disorders, and PTSD.

There are four core skill sets that you master to help you problem-solve and deal with issues:

  1. Mindfulness - the core skill in DBT is being able to non-judgmentally observe yourself and your surroundings. You will become more aware of the physical and mental triggers that cause runaway emotions.

  2. Distress Tolerance - deal with painful situations. When you can't change the situation, learn how to tolerate it, accept it, and move forward.

  3. Emotion Regulation - learning to make your emotions work for you. Learn to recognize when an emotion is unproductive and change it into a more productive emotion.

  4. Interpersonal Skills - change the way you communicate so you get more out of your relationships. Learn to communicate what you want. Become comfortable saying no.


Here are some of the potential benefits of DBT therapy:

  1. Improved emotion regulation: DBT therapy focuses on developing skills to manage intense emotions, reducing impulsive and self-destructive behaviors that can arise from emotional dysregulation.

  2. Reduced self-harm behaviors: DBT has been shown to be effective in reducing self-harm behaviors, such as cutting, burning, and suicidal ideation.

  3. Increased mindfulness: DBT incorporates mindfulness practices to help individuals become more aware of their thoughts and emotions, and learn how to respond to them in a healthy way.

  4. Improved interpersonal relationships: DBT helps individuals develop effective communication and interpersonal skills, which can improve their relationships with others.

  5. Increased self-esteem: DBT helps individuals develop a sense of self-worth and self-validation, which can improve their overall quality of life.

  6. Reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety: DBT has been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety in some individuals.

Overall, DBT therapy is a collaborative and skills-based approach to therapy that aims to help individuals develop the skills they need to manage their mental health symptoms and improve their overall well-being.


DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) was originally developed to treat individuals with borderline personality disorder, but it has since been shown to be effective in treating a wide range of mental health conditions. DBT therapy may be beneficial for individuals who:

  1. Experience intense and difficult-to-manage emotions, such as anger, sadness, or anxiety.

  2. Engage in self-destructive behaviors, such as substance abuse, self-harm, or suicidal ideation.

  3. Struggle with interpersonal relationships and have difficulty communicating effectively with others.

  4. Have difficulty regulating their behaviors and impulses, which can lead to problems with the law or other negative consequences.

  5. Have a history of trauma or have experienced significant life stressors.

  6. Have been diagnosed with a mental health condition such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or eating disorders.

Overall, DBT therapy may be beneficial for individuals who struggle with emotional regulation, interpersonal difficulties, and impulsive behaviors. It is important to note that DBT therapy is typically conducted by a licensed therapist who has received specialized training in this technique.


Overall, DBT therapy is a collaborative and skills-based approach to therapy that aims to help individuals develop the skills they need to manage their emotions, behaviors, and relationships. The therapist and client work together to identify goals, develop skills, and practice those skills in a supportive and non-judgmental environment.

DBT flow


CBT focuses on how your thoughts, feelings and behavior influence each other. While DBT does work on these things, emphasis is given more towards regulating emotions, being mindful, and learning to accept pain. CBT seeks to give patients the ability to recognize when their thoughts might become troublesome, and gives them techniques to redirect those thoughts. DBT helps patients find ways to accept themselves, feel safe, and manage their emotions to help regulate potentially destructive or harmful behaviors.

Clients who engage in DBT therapy participate in DBT skills training sessions that are typically taught in a group setting in four modules. Most patients also meet weekly with a DBT therapist or DBT coach and receive DBT phone coaching as needed when they need help the most. Sometimes, once patients are able to use DBT skills to regulate their emotions, practice mindfulness, and improve relationships with others, they are able to transition to more standard CBT groups to address specific negative thought patterns or recurring harmful behaviors.

"It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters."
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