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Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)

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:

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:

  • Mindfulness
    • Practice staying focused on the present moment: dwelling less on painful past experiences or anxiety-provoking possibilities about the future, responding 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.