Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based psychotherapy, first developed in the 1980s by Marsha M. Linehan, to treat patients suffering from borderline personality disorder. Since then, DBT’s use has broadened and now it is regularly employed as part of a treatment plan for people struggling with behaviors or emotions they can't control. This can include eating disorders, substance abuse, self-harm, and more. DBT is a skills-based approach that focuses on helping people increase their emotional and cognitive control by learning the triggers that lead to unwanted behaviors. Once triggers are identified, DBT teaches coping skills that include mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness. A therapist specializing in DBT will help you to enhance your own capabilities, improve your motivation, provide support in-the-moment, and better manage your own life with problem-solving strategies. Think this approach might work for you? Reach out to one of TherapyDen’s DBT specialists today.

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In 2002, I received two weeks of paid training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy through San Mateo County in California. They were opening a new residential treatment center, and DBT was going to be the focus for treatment. I ran DBT groups with the county for over twelve years. I currently use DBT in all parts of my practice and run a bi-weekly art therapy/ DBT group.

— Deann Acton, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Austin, TX

I worked in a Partial Hospitalization Program for 3 years using DBT for group and individual therapy. I call myself DBT "informed" because I have not completed formal training but I am competent in delivering the basic concepts.

— Kelly Warringer, Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Dialectical Behavior Therapy is a form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that focuses on helping us manage emotional pain and successfully navigate our relationships. It seeks to accomplish these goals by improving one's ability to regulate difficult emotions, tolerate distressing feelings or experiences, practice acceptance for the things they cannot change, and communicate with others. These compose some of the hallmarks of my practice, and have helped my patients enormously.

— Saira Malhotra, Therapist in Denver, CO

My graduate training included an emphasis on Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). Additionally, I have completed post-graduate training in Dialectical Behavior Skills Training. This includes the skills of mindfulness (being in the present moment), emotion regulation (learning how to manage your emotions), distress tolerance (how to handle those moments of seemingly unbearable negative emotions), and interpersonal effectiveness (ways to interact more effectively with others).

— Charlotte Pennington, Psychologist in Lakeway, TX

Do you feel your mind is being pulled in a hundred different directions at once? Do you have a hard time handling some of your emotions, and does this cause any problems in your relationships? Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) offers individuals comprehensive skills to manage painful memories and emotions and decrease conflicts in their relationships.Many of us live our daily lives with a constant stream of uncontrollable negative emotions right under our awareness.

— Julie Williams, Counselor

DBT skills based work can provide both long term and short term relief for many mental health symptoms and struggles.

— Kassondra Wilson, Mental Health Counselor in , WA

Do you sometimes wonder why life looks so easy for others, but you just feel overwhelmed most of the time. DBT is SO helpful! It's all about finding skills that you can do at school/work, home or anywhere that you need them to feel in control & capable of doing hard things. If you aren't the touchy-feely type or you aren't quite ready to go deep and heal your trauma, DBT can be a great option. It is practical, action-oriented, and based on research so you know the skills will work.

— Katy Harmon, Licensed Clinical Social Worker - Candidate in Austin, TX

Originally developed for people suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, I believe this modality has concepts that help all of us! The number one tool here is mindfulness, which can help us slow things down in order to understand what is happening in the moment, and identify what is the most healthy response.

— Sara Rotger, Marriage & Family Therapist in Montrose, CA

I appreciate DBT because it gives us direct tools we can use on a daily basis to challenge ineffective urges. I also love the mindfulness associated with DBT. I believe that the first step towards change is recognition of the barrier / problem.

— Sam Anderson, Clinical Social Worker

My experience is working on a team with DBT therapy in a hospital setting. When we look at the skills individually, DBT can be a resource that can be extremely helpful in learning specific ways to improve your patterns of communication and how you look at and work through emotions.

— Karmen Tuivai, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Provo, UT

While typically one of the best treatments for Borderline Personality Disorder, its focus on mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance, and emotion regulation skills are applicable for all of us. I use the full protocol as well as an adapted and DBT informed approach usually to improve emotion regulation and tolerance of distress.

— Melody Mickens, Clinical Psychologist in Richmond, VA

DBT was originally developed to treat borderline personality disorder. However, research shows that DBT is also successful to treating people experiencing depression, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, post- traumatic - stress disorder,thinking disorders, and substance abuse.

— Jennifer Hillier, Licensed Professional Counselor in San Antonio, TX

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a cognitive behavioral treatment developed by Marsha Linehan, PhD, ABPP. It emphasizes individual psychotherapy and group skills training classes to help people learn and use new skills and strategies to develop a life that they experience as worth living. DBT skills include skills for mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness.

— Kimberly Krueger MSW, LCSW, Counselor in Davidson, NC

Dialectical Behavior Therapy is used to help with a variety of mental/behavioral health concerns such as personality and mood disorders. The mindfulness focus helps with creating insight and reducing stress.

— Hope Perini, Counselor in Barre, VT

During my training I sought opportunities to co-lead DBT groups because I knew that the tools within would be helpful for anyone. Though I no longer lead official DBT groups, the skills that I learned as a leader (and can thus provide to you) are enormously helpful for regulating distressing emotions--anger, anxiety, sadness, and the like.

— Jon Reeves, Clinical Psychologist in Seattle, WA

DBT is a modified type of CBT. The goal of DBT is to guide people in learning how to live in the moment, establish healthy ways to manage stress, regulate their emotions, and strengthen their relationships with others.

— Roman Haas, Counselor in , CO