What is Dialectical Behaviour Therapy?
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive behavioural therapy that was originally developed to treat people with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). However, you do not need to have a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder in order to benefit from this type of therapy. By balancing both acceptance and change, DBT therapists can help clients to learn a variety of useful skills to soothe intense emotions, curb impulsive behaviours, reduce self-harm and suicidal behaviours, and be more effective in their interpersonal relationships.
Who can benefit from Dialectical Behaviour Therapy?
Research has shown DBT to be effective at helping people with:
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Binge eating disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Self-harming or suicidal behaviours
How can Dialectical Behaviour Therapy help me?
DBT can help you to:
- Identify, tolerate, or soothe intense emotions
- Communicate your feelings more effectively
- Enhance your interpersonal relationships
- Develop a more balanced viewpoint (less black-and-white, all-or-nothing thinking)
- Reduce self-harm behaviours, treat yourself with more love and compassion
- Reduce suicidal behaviours
- Have more stability in your sense of self, in your life, and in your relationships
- Feel more confident, effective, and stable
How does Dialectical Behaviour Therapy work?
DBT therapists are trained to help you to learn the following skills:
- Practice staying focused on the present moment: dwelling less on painful past experiences or anxiety-provoking possibilities about the future, respond effectively to problems in the here-and-now, let go of harsh judgments about the self and others.
- Distress tolerance
- Build up your emotional resilience so that you can cope more effectively with painful feelings, and learn tools to soften the impact of upsetting events. Examples: Radical acceptance, self-soothing with the five senses, distraction until the painful moment subsides.
- Emotional regulation
- Identify and observe emotions without getting overwhelmed by them. Manage difficult feelings in ways that are effective, as opposed to destructive or harmful.
- Interpersonal effectiveness
- Handle conflict in a way that respects yourself and maintains your relationships with others. Express your thoughts, feelings, needs, and limits in an effective manner.