What is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy or DBT

Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a psychological method developed by Marsha M. Linehan to treat patients with borderline personality disorder. (BPD)[1] Research indicates its application to also be effective in treating patients who represent varied symptoms and behaviors associated with spectrum mood disorders, including self-injury.[2] Key elements DBT practitioners emphasize include, behaviorist theory, dialectics, cognitive therapy, and, DBT's central component, mindfulness.
There are two essential parts of the treatment, and without either of these parts the therapy is not considered "DBT adherent."
An individual component in which the therapist and client discuss issues that come up during the week, recorded on diary cards and follow a treatment target hierarchy. Self-injurious and suicidal behaviors take first priority, followed by therapy interfering behaviors. Then there are quality of life issues and finally working towards improving one's life generally. During the individual therapy, the therapist and client work towards improving skill use. Often, skills group is discussed and obstacles to acting skillfully are addressed.

The group, which ordinarily meets once weekly for two to two-and-a-half hours, learns to use specific skills that are broken down into four modules: core mindfulness skills, emotion regulation skills, interpersonal effectiveness skills and distress tolerance skills.
- Wikipedia

Wikipedia provides a good definition of DBT. At Mindful Transitions we do not currently offer DBT by this format. At Mindful Transitions we often use Marsha Linehan's definitions of Mindfulness and many of the skills that surround Mindfulness to help enhance understanding of how to manage difficult emotions, impulses or feelings. This in combination with the ACT format from my experience allows people to enhance their understanding of how to contact the present moment throughout daily life and then enhance decisions made through personal values rather than emotional reactions. It is all about tolerating discomfort for growth and building a life that you want to live.


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