Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) treatment
is a cognitive-behavioral approach that emphasizes skill-building that
helps with emotional control. The theory behind the approach is that
some people are prone to react in a more intense and
out-of-the-ordinary manner toward certain emotional situations,
primarily those found in romantic, family and friend relationships.
DBT theory suggests that some people become far more emotional, and
become emotional quickly than the average persons. Some people
require a significant amount of time to become calm again.
These people experience extreme swings in their emotions, see the world
in “black-and-white” shades, and seem to always be jumping
from one crisis to another. Because few people understand such
reactions — they don’t have any methods for coping with
these sudden, intense surges of emotion. DBT is a method for teaching
skills that will help in this task.
DBT and Mental
People who need DBT skills are sometimes diagnosed with Borderline
Personality Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, chronic Depression or Substance
DBT Treatment Like? How is it Different from
• DBT is Support-Oriented: It helps a person
identify their strengths and builds on them so that the person can feel
better about him/herself and about life.
• DBT is Cognitive-based: DBT helps identify
thoughts, beliefs, and assumptions that make life harder. Some of
these include: “I have to be perfect at everything”
and “If I get angry, I’m a terrible
person.” DBT helps people to learn different ways of
thinking that will make life more bearable. People who have DBT
skills can say, “I don’t need to be perfect at things
for people to care about me,” and “Everyone gets
angry, and it’s a normal emotion.”
• DBT is Collaborative: DBT requires
attention to the relationship between the client and the therapist. In
DBT, people are encouraged to work out problems in their relationships
with their therapist and the therapists to do the same with them.
DBT asks people to complete homework assignments, to role-play new ways
of interacting with others, and to practice skills such as soothing
yourself when upset. These skills, which are a crucial part of DBT, can
be taught in weekly individual sessions. Ideally, they are taught
in weekly lectures, reviewed in weekly homework groups, and are
referred to in nearly every group. The individual therapist helps the
person to learn, apply and master the DBT skills.
Individual and Group Sessions Used in DBT?
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) may be seen as having two main
weekly psychotherapy sessions emphasize problem-solving
behavior for the past weeks issues and troubles that arose in the
person’s life. Self-injurious and suicidal behaviors take first
priority, followed by behaviors that may interfere with the therapy
process. Quality of life issues and working toward improving life in
general may also be discussed. Individual sessions in DBT also focus on
decreasing and dealing with post-traumatic stress responses (from
previous trauma in the person’s life) and helping enhance their
own self-respect and self-image. During individual therapy
sessions, the therapist and client work toward learning and improving
many basic social skills.
2. Weekly group
therapy sessions are generally 2 1/2 hours per session and are
led by a trained DBT therapist. Group is where clients learn
skills from one of four different modules: interpersonal effectiveness,
distress tolerance/reality acceptance skills, emotion regulation, and
mindfulness skills. These skills can also be taught in Individual
Therapy sessions if groups are not available.