What Is DBT Therapy?

Dialectical behavior therapy, abbreviated as DBT, is a form of therapy that focuses on acceptance strategies and problem solving. DBT is particularly useful for patients who have not had success with other treatment modalities. DBT was initially designed to help those who suffered from borderline personality disorder, but it is now used with many types of disorders and problems including common disorders and behaviors such as eating disorders, depressive disorders, substance abuse, and post-traumatic-stress disorder.

Dialectical behavior therapy is designed to help clients learn new skills and limit the amount of conflict they experience in their relationships. To start, therapists will help clients manage upsetting emotions by focusing on mindfulness. Mindfulness training helps clients to accept their present state and their surroundings so that they can be present. Rather than living in the future or the past, clients learn to live in the “now.”

Therapists also help their clients learn how to regulate their emotions, which are often intense and disruptive. Emotional regulation can help clients learn new skills and strategies to manage these emotions as well as learn to accept a higher level of negative emotion without turning to destructive or counterproductive behaviors.

In addition to these skills, DBT also teaches clients how to communicate effectively with others even during intense and stressful situations. DBT also works to improve the self-image of the client so that low self-esteem and low regard for one’s self does not negatively impact interpersonal relationships. The four modules of dialectical behavior therapy are: mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance and emotion regulation.


The DBT Process

Clients should expect a similar DBT process from therapists. The treatment process typically involves a combination of individual therapy sessions and DBT group therapy sessions. The therapist in each situation will work to reinforce positive adaptive behaviors.

Individual therapy sessions are necessary to help keep the client motivated and to ensure that the client is receiving specific individualized care. Individual DBT therapy also ensures that the client can address their specific issues as soon as possible and provide a more intimate setting to process personal problems that arise in the client’s life each week.

Group therapy sessions aim to teach new skills to clients in a supportive environment. These group therapy sessions are opportunities for clients to practice their skills with one another as well. In many cases, homework is even assigned and the group therapy functions similarly to students taking a course in a classroom.

It’s easy to get started. Simply give us a call at (800) 411-8019 or start an online chat with one of our counselors to jumpstart your DBT therapy process.