What is DBT?

DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) is a set of behavioral skills that clients learn and apply in their lives:

  • Mindfulness: the practice of being fully aware and present in this one moment
  • Distress Tolerance: how to tolerate pain in difficult situations
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness: how to ask for what you want – or say no — while maintaining self-respect and relationships with others
  • Emotion Regulation: how to change unwanted or excessively intense emotions

Click here http://www.linehaninstitute.org/resources/fromMarsha/ to access the vast and increasing evidence that DBT skills treat a wide variety of diagnoses as well as everyday challenges across most life settings.

What does “Dialectical” mean?

The term “dialectical” means that two ideas that are opposites can both be true at the same time. For example although “acceptance” and “change” are opposites, one may want to accept things at the same time as they also may wish to change them. This is a dialectic. DBT therapists accept clients as they are while also acknowledging that clients need to change in order to reach their goals. The 4 DBT skills modules include two sets of acceptance-oriented skills (Mindfulness and Distress Tolerance) and two sets of change-oriented skills (Emotion Regulation and Interpersonal Effectiveness).

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