What is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)?

  • 29 Nov 2022
  • General

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of talk therapy that is suitable for people who experience intense emotions. It is widely used, especially for people with borderline personality disorder. However, it is a therapy that can also be used for other mental health problems.

What is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy?

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Its main goals are to teach people to live in the moment, to develop healthy ways of coping with stress and to regulate their emotions.

DBT was originally designed to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD). But over time it has been adapted to treat other mental health conditions.

In Which Situations is DBT Used?

Dialectical behavior therapy can be used for the following conditions:

  • Feeling hopeless
  • Unstable relationships
  • Alcohol or drug problems
  • Risk taking or impulsive behavior
  • Anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts
  • Depression
  • Low self-esteem or feelings of self-hatred
  • Self-harm
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Strong emotions
  • Intense mood swings
  • Eating disorders

How DBT Works

Dialectical behavior therapy focuses on four basic ways of developing life skills. These:

  • Interpersonal effectiveness: interacting correctly.
  • Emotion regulation: Recognizing, labeling and adjusting emotions.
  • Distress tolerance: Feeling intense emotions such as anger without reacting impulsively.
  • Awareness: Being more aware of yourself and others.

DBT offers a multi-stage approach. These approaches are as follows:

  1. It treats the most self-harming behaviors, such as suicide attempts.
  2. It begins to address quality of life skills such as emotional regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness.
  3. DBT focuses on improved relationships and self-esteem.
  4. It encourages more joy and relationship connection.

What are the Benefits of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)?

The benefits of DBT are as follows:

  • It reduces anger.
  • It prevents self-harming behavior.
  • Provides fewer days of hospitalization.
  • It allows you to get rid of substance addiction.
  • It reduces depressive symptoms.

How to Get Maximum Efficiency from Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

To maximize the positive effect, you will get from therapy, you can consider the following suggestions:

  • You must be determined to make positive changes.
  • Must be prepared to commit completely to therapy and to do homework.
  • You should be prepared to focus mostly on the present and the future rather than your past.


What is the Effectiveness of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy?

Dialectical behavior therapy helps people develop their coping skills successfully. In this way, people can develop effective ways to manage and express their strong emotions. Researchers have also found that this therapy is effective regardless of a person's age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and race.

How is DBT Different From Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?

Both DBT and CBT are forms of psychotherapy. In these therapies, the person talks to a mental health professional about their difficulties and learns skills to help them cope.

DBT primarily focuses on learning ways to change unhelpful thoughts and behaviors. DBT teaches people techniques to accept and change their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Thus, dialectical behavior therapy not only teaches personal skills but also emphasizes interpersonal skills.

DBT is based on cognitive behavioral therapy. But it focuses more on the emotional and social aspects of life. DBT is used to help people manage their intense emotions.

How to Begin Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

The best way to find out if DBT is right for you; Talking to a trained professional is to talk about it. The professional will evaluate your symptoms, treatment history as well as therapy goals to see if the therapy in question is right for you.

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