DBT / Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy that helps people manage and regulate intense emotions and stress and acquire healthy interpersonal skills. Dialectical behavior therapy is particularly helpful for people with borderline personality disorder (BPD). DBT therapy can be applied in both individual and group therapy sessions.

What to Expect in DBT Therapy

Focus on the Present – Dialectical behavior therapy draws heavily on Eastern philosophy mindfulness techniques. This benefits the client by helping them become more self-aware and focused on the present moment. Often people suffering from borderline personality disorder or addictions continuously replay past painful situations in their minds or obsess about the future. By using skills such as meditation and paying attention to bodily sensations or the environment, they can bring themselves back to the current moment and alleviate some of the preoccupations that cause their distress.

Emotion Regulation – DBT also addresses the emotional extremes that can accompany some mental health disorders. People with issues like BPD can fluctuate between happiness and sadness or contempt regularly. In DBT therapy, the counselor teaches the client to recognize emotional triggers, understand the consequences of emotions and resulting actions, learn to stop letting their emotions dictate their lives and behaviors, and acquire healthy coping skills to deal with difficult circumstances.

Development of Coping Skills – Dialectical behavior therapy provides clients tools for dealing with situations in their lives that trigger extreme emotions. Through mindfulness they learn to recognize emotions as just that – emotions, and learn to take some of their power away. Clients learn to be less judgmental of emotions and themselves. They learn to take a step back from a situation and view it objectively before acting out.

Developing Interpersonal Skills – Specially trained DBT therapists help clients work on communication and social skills. They learn how they might be projecting onto others or manipulating situations, and how this harms relationships. Clients learn skills like setting healthy boundaries, being assertive and conflict management.

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