• What is DBT?

  • What is DBT?

    Developed in the late 80’s by researcher Marsha Linehan, PhD, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) was originally utilized to treat individuals that suffered with Borderline Personality Disorder. Since its development it has been proven an effective evidence base treatment for many other mental health concerns.

    These include: addictions ( food, sex, chemical substances), mood disorders including depression and anxiety, issues of impulse control and others. Behavioral and thought patterns that are often present include:

    • High and intense surges of emotion that come quickly and that often feel stubbornly slow in dissipating
    • Perceiving the world as an unfriendly place where black and white thinking is the norm.
    • Stuckness in thought and action. Repeating the same things over and over simply because there doesn’t seem to be anything else to do.
    • Engaging in behaviors that can cause injury or suffering to yourself or others and struggling to stop those behaviors.
    • Feeling overwhelmed by shame or anger

    At its core, DBT is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy that emphasizes the importance of balancing validation and change as well as the necessity to learn how to operate out of the present moment rather than from the past or future. It incorporates multiple avenues for identifying and shifting behaviors that are problematic for an individual, cause a reduction in functioning or impair the ability to live life effectively and with joy. It is a collaborative model and emphasizes the importance of relationship, problem solving and managing emotional trauma and crisis. DBT operates on the belief that all problem behaviors make perfect sense in the efforts of an individual to feel better. Many of the problem behaviors, however, have only short term effectiveness in alleviating suffering and do not address the underlying issues that produced the problem behaviors. DBT teaches skills for change and emphasizes the need for long term solutions that maintain self-respect and respect for others. Skills training is an integral part of DBT. DBT is a comprehensive and voluntary therapy for those who are motivated to experience an improved quality of life and that no longer wish to engage in behaviors that threaten their own lives or the integrity of the lives they are living.