Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Dialectical Behavior Therapy, commonly known as DBT, is a therapeutic approach that has been empirically validated for its effectiveness in helping individuals cope with intense emotions and improve their overall mental well-being. Developed by Dr. Marsha M. Linehan in the 1990’s, DBT was initially designed to treat individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). However, its success has led to its application in a broader range of mental health challenges, making it a valuable resource for many.
What is DBT?
DBT is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) that emphasizes the development of emotion regulation skills, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness. It combines elements of traditional CBT with elements of mindfulness and acceptance practices. A unique feature of DBT is that it’s rooted in dialectical philosophy, which explores the tension between seemingly opposite concepts to create balance and synthesis. In therapy, this means finding a balance between acceptance and change; between validation and accountability.
Here's a breakdown of some of the key components:
Mindfulness involves being fully present in the moment without judgment. This practice helps individuals observe and accept their thoughts, feelings, and sensations, fostering a greater understanding of their inner experiences.
This component of DBT equips individuals with practical skills to tolerate and navigate distressing situations without resorting to impulsive or self-destructive behaviors. It teaches strategies for self-soothing and reducing emotional reactivity.
This component of DBT focuses on recognizing and managing intense emotions effectively. Individuals learn to identify their emotional triggers, understand the function of their emotions, and develop strategies for regulating emotional responses.
Building and maintaining healthy relationships is a vital aspect of well-being. This component of DBT helps individuals enhance their communication skills, assertiveness, and conflict resolution abilities to foster more positive interactions with others.
All of our therapists are intensively trained in DBT and offer the following therapies:
DBT Informed Pschotherapy
DBT-Informed Psychotherapy incorporates the main principles of DBT into the psychotherapy process but doesn't require the client to participate in all the components of the comprehensive program. This allows for an eclectic and personalized approach to treatment. Clients typically meet with their therapist weekly.
Comprehensive DBT includes four key components: individual therapy (1-2x week), skills training, between session coaching, a therapist consultation team and a fifth component of family therapy as needed. Clients are seen by therapists who are all intensively trained in DBT.
This specialized form of DBT is tailored to meet the unique needs of teenagers. DBT-A is particularly effective for individuals struggling with emotional dysregulation, self-harm behaviors, and difficulties in interpersonal relationships. By providing practical tools and strategies, DBT-A helps teens navigate the challenges of adolescence and develop healthier coping tools.
DBT-C is particularly beneficial for children experiencing difficulties in managing intense emotions, impulsive behaviors, and challenges in relationships. By providing practical tools and fostering a supportive environment, DBT-C aims to empower children and their parents with the skills needed to navigate their emotions and build resilience.
How can DBT help you?
Dialectical Behavior Therapy offers a holistic approach to emotional wellness, providing individuals with practical skills and strategies to navigate life's challenges effectively. Whether you're dealing with a specific mental health condition or simply seeking to improve your emotional regulation and interpersonal skills, DBT can be a powerful tool on your journey to well-being and self-discovery.
DBT can be an invaluable resource for individuals facing a variety of mental health challenges
Borderline Personality Disorder: DBT is particularly effective in treating BPD, by helping individuals manage impulsivity, mood swings, and self-destructive behaviors.
Depression: DBT equips individuals with tools to combat depressive symptoms, reduce negative thinking patterns, and enhance emotional resilience.
Anxiety Disorders: By teaching mindfulness and distress tolerance skills, DBT can help individuals reduce anxiety and better cope with panic attacks or phobias.
Substance Abuse: DBT is often integrated into substance abuse treatment programs to address the emotional triggers and impulsivity associated with addiction.
Eating Disorders: DBT can assist individuals in managing intense emotions related to body image and food, promoting healthier eating habits.
Stress and General Well-Being: Even if you don't have a specific diagnosis, DBT can enhance your emotional intelligence, communication skills, and overall well-being, making it a valuable tool for personal growth.
At CWML, all of the licensed therapists on our team are intensively trained in DBT and we’re committed to providing a safe and supportive environment where you can learn and practice these life-changing skills. We understand that every individual's journey is unique, and we tailor our DBT therapy to your specific goals and needs. Our goal is to empower you to lead a life that is balanced, fulfilling, and meaningful, an approach to life we call Wise Mind Living. For some, this may mean meeting weekly for DBT-informed therapy, and for others it might mean entering our Comprehensive DBT program which includes weekly individual therapy, plus a 90-minute weekly DBT Skills Group and between-session coaching.
Want to learn more about DBT?