What is dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a cognitive behavioral therapy that combines cognitive behavioral theory and methods with Eastern meditative principles and practices. Dialectical behavior therapy has been developed by psychologist Marsha Linehan.

Who benefits from DBT Skills Training?

DBT can be useful for borderline personality disorder, drug abuse, self-harm, bulimia and binge eating disorder, bipolar disorder and depression.

Dialectical behavior therapy skills training

DBT usually includes a combination of group training and individual psychotherapy. There are four main types of skills that are the focus of DBT.

Mindfulness Technician

Mindfulness is the cornerstone of DBT. Mindfulness is an open, accepting, non-judgmental consciousness. It helps individuals to accept and tolerate the strong emotions. Therefore, mindfulness is considered a “core skill”, as it is important for the successful implementation of other DBT skills. When you are aware, you observe your behaviors, feelings and thoughts from the outside, without judging and noticing.

The goals of teaching mindfulness skills in dialectical behavior therapy are:

  • Completely observe without judging
  • Descriptive without judgmental statements
  • To participate in the activity with full focus

Emergency tolerance

Emergency tolerance is an ability to accept and tolerate painful events and emotions when there is no way to solve the problem or get rid of the stressful situation.

Individuals who have low distress tolerance engage in self-destructive behaviors in order to escape from severe emotional pain. Self-destructive behaviors destroy oneself, one’s family, and cause long-term emotional crises. Self-destructive behaviors include three categories:

1. Self-harm.
2. Drug abuse.
3. Suicide.

There are four categories of emergency tolerance skills in dialectical behavior therapy:

1. Distraction.
2. Self-calming.
3. Improve the moment.
4. Focus on the pros and cons.

Emergency tolerance skills help individuals tolerate stressful situations and deal with difficult emotional states without using self-destructive behaviors.

Emotion regulation

Individuals with borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder and suicidal individuals suffer from uncontrolled emotions such as depression, mania, anger and anxiety. Learning to regulate our emotions enables us to deal with our emotions instead of being handled by them.

The ability to regulate emotions includes three steps:

  1. understand how you feel
  2. reduce your vulnerability
  3. Reduce emotional suffering.

Interpersonal efficiency

Our interaction with other people can create stress. Stress can also lead to self-destructive behaviors. On the other hand, our relationships are the effective tools for managing stress. Interpersonal response patterns taught in dialectical behavioral therapy include effective strategies for asking what you want.

DBT helps people improve their relationships and manage conflicts more effectively.

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