Dialectical Behavior Therapy
What is DBT?
Dialectical Behavior Therapy is a comprehensive, empirically-validated treatment, which incorporates components of individual therapy and skills training. DBT is a form of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), initially developed to treat individuals with trouble regulating emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. It incorporates techniques based in behavior training and Zen practice (i.e. mindfulness, acknowledgement, and acceptance). Over time, DBT has been adapted and shown to be an effective approach for individuals with anxiety, depression, poor emotional regulation, family conflict, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chaotic relationships, and impulsive behaviors (i.e. self-injury, purging, truancy, and substance abuse). The ultimate goal of Dialectical Behavior Therapy is to teach individuals how to live a more balanced life by regulating emotions during high periods of stress, engaging in healthy relationships, handling conflicts appropriately, and utilizing adaptive coping behaviors.
What Skills Are Improved through DBT?
DBT services often cover skills from four key domains:
- Mindfulness: How to stay present in the moment and adopt a non-judgemental stance of yourself, others, or the situation
- Emotional Regulation: How to more effectively manage your emotions by decreasing unpleasant emotions and increasing positive experiences. Individuals also learn how to identify and understand their emotions; reduce emotional vulnerability and decrease emotional suffering.
- Distress Tolerance: How to manage distress (periods of high emotional intensity) in a more effective and healthy way
- Interpersonal Effectiveness: How to navigate relationships in a more effective way by learning how to make requests, balance priorities and demands, how to say “no” and make it stick, how to build a sense of self-respect, and to build and maintain healthy, positive relationships
How We Can Help with DBT
Because it's a multi-method approach, both individual therapy and group therapy are typically needed during the Dialectical Behavioral Therapy process. DBT Group Therapy sessions provide a social environment in which individuals can learn and practice newly-taught emotional and behavioral regulation skills. Learn more about the DBT group therapy services we offer for tweens, teens, and young adults.