Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is a type of therapy that was developed in the late 1980s by psychologist Marsha M. Linehan. It was originally developed to treat people with borderline personality disorder (BPD), who often experience strong emotions and have difficulty regulating them. However, DBT has since been shown to be effective in treating a wide variety of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and eating disorders.
DBT is based on the concept of dialectics, which is that two seemingly opposite ideas can be true at the same time. In the case of DBT, this means that people can accept themselves as they are while striving to change and grow. DBT is based on four key principles: mindfulness, stress tolerance, emotional regulation, and effective interpersonal communication.
Mindfulness is an important component of DBT and involves being fully present in the present moment and accepting your own thoughts and feelings without judgment. Mindfulness techniques such as meditation and breathing exercises can help people reduce stress and improve emotional regulation skills.
Distress Tolerance is another key principle of DBT and involves teaching tolerance to difficult emotions and situations without engaging in harmful behavior. Stress tolerance skills can include distraction techniques, calming activities, and strategies for dealing with strong emotions.
Emotional regulation is the process of recognizing, understanding, and managing your own emotions. DBT teaches people the skills to identify and label emotions, as well as strategies for their healthy regulation.
Interpersonal effectiveness refers to the ability to communicate effectively with others, set boundaries, and maintain healthy relationships. DBT teaches individual skills of assertiveness, active listening and conflict resolution.
DBT is usually delivered in a structured format, with individual therapy sessions, group therapy sessions, and telephone training sessions between sessions. Individual therapy sessions focus on problem solving and skills development, while group therapy sessions give people the opportunity to practice their skills in a supportive environment. Telephone counseling allows people to get support and guidance outside of therapy sessions.
DBT has been shown to be effective in treating a wide variety of mental health issues, including borderline personality disorder, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Research has also shown that DBT can be an effective way to reduce self-injurious and suicidal behavior.
Overall, DBT is a highly structured and effective form of therapy that can help people improve their emotional regulation, communication skills, and overall well-being. If you are struggling with strong emotions or difficult life situations, DBT may be a useful option to consider.