What is Dialectical Behaviour Therapy?

by Andrea M. Darcy
Reviewed by Dr Sheri Jacobson

Do you feel like therapy just isn't working for you, and for your particular challenges? Or have you been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder?

Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) might be for you.

What is DBT?

A longer-term therapy, the focus of DBT is on helping you to create a balanced life you feel good in. It does this by creating two seemingly opposite ('dialectical') things in your life -- acceptance and change.

Dialectical behaviour therapy believes that everyone does their best in life. It’s just that sometimes we don’t have the right tools or knowledge to understand how our behaviours are creating a life we aren't happy in, or what we can do to change.

The pillars of dialectical behaviour therapy

There are four 'parts' to dialectical behaviour therapy.

Distress Tolerance helps you navigate emotional pain.

Emotion Regulation supports you to recognise and change your feelings.

Mindfulness teaches you to be in the present moment, more aware of your thoughts and feelings.

Interpsonal Effectiveness shows you how to recognise and communicate your needs and boundaries in a calm, productive way.

What can DBT therapy help with ?

Most often used to treat borderline personality disorder, DBT might also help if you are dealing with:

How is DBT different to other types of therapy?

1 . It’s often done in a group.

It’s possible to do DBT therapy one-on-one, but more often it’s offered in a group, or in a mix of group and personal sessions.

2. It’s multi-faceted.

Many types of therapy are just about sitting and talking. In DBT, on the other hand, you will be doing exercises together, discussing things, and learning and trying out new tools.

3. There is 'homework'.

Dialectical behaviour therapy is not about talking, then going home and that’s that until the next session. You’ll instead be asked to try out the tools and skills you are learning.

4. Your therapist is your equal.

A good therapist should never be anything but an equal, but there is a strong emphasis on this equality in DBT. And the client-therapist relationship is seen as a tool, and part of the therapy itself.

What are the benefits?

Time to stop letting your impulsive behaviour and emotions ruin your life? Book a DBT therapist now and step forward.

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