Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
What is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)?
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is focused on helping you find balance in a world of conflicting thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in order to help you gain emotional control no matter what is going on around you. The ultimate goal of DBT is to help you build a life worth living. DBT teaches you not just how to get through each day but how to create stability, meaning, and purpose for yourself.
DBT is all about teaching practical skills that address specific challenges. It is not a processing therapy where you try to figure out why something happened or why you think a certain way. Rather, it is an active therapy that helps you survive ongoing situations that cause stress or that your brain perceives to be risky or dangerous.
Metaphorically speaking: Imagine that your house is on fire. Your first need is to escape the flames and then call for help to put them out. While other therapies might focus on why the fire started or how to prevent future fires, DBT focuses on the fire in the moment and is all about getting you to safety and reducing harmful aspects of your life.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy has four focuses when it comes to strengthening everyday coping skills:
1. Interpersonal Effectiveness:
- Learning how to balance priorities vs. demands in life and relationships; adding structure to one’s life by learning how to put off low priorities and ask for help
Learning how to say “no”
Building mastery of skills and self-respect
2. Emotion Regulation:
- Identify and label emotions
Reduce vulnerability of the emotional mind
Increase positive emotional events that have a beneficial effect
3. Distress Tolerance:
- Increase ability to manage painful emotions in a positive way
Learn distraction skills to get through each moment as it comes without being overwhelmed by feelings
- Learning how to take control of emotions and thoughts in order to manage mood and behavior