Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, or DBT, is a comprehensive mental health program designed to help individuals with a wide range of disorders and concerns. Originally developed to help those struggling with borderline personality disorder (BPD), DBT has become one of the most well-known and effective types of therapy in the world today, with DBT therapists working with clients on everything from addiction to depression to suicidal thoughts. This article will go over the basics of DBT and how it can help you manage your mental health issues.
A practice that trains people to observe and then let go of distressing thoughts, DBT asks its patients to take a deep breath when a distressing thought comes up—like someone who’s just been cut off on the highway. It may be an unpleasant sensation, but it’s simply another thought in your mind and you have no reason to be distressed by it. Mindfulness is one of several techniques used in DBT therapy.
DBT recognises that there are times when we need to take a moment to breathe and evaluate our emotional responses to events. It’s not wrong or bad to feel these emotions, but sometimes it is important to make conscious decisions about how you respond. When used effectively, Emotion Regulation helps you channel your feelings into productive behavior. Instead of allowing them to keep you stuck in harmful ways of thinking and behaving, you can harness your feelings and emotions in ways that help you move forward.
One of the most useful DBT skills is known as interpersonal effectiveness. Interpersonal effectiveness is essentially a way to avoid conflict or resolve issues with others through assertive communication, even in emotionally charged situations. Basically, it’s about communicating to get what you want without hurting someone else in your pursuit of that goal—it’s a win-win situation! This skill can help people deal with roommate conflicts, romantic relationship woes and other sticky situations.
One of three main aspects of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Distress Tolerance teaches clients how to accept painful or uncomfortable feelings while they wait for those feelings to subside. While it may seem counterintuitive, accepting your feelings when you’re feeling distressed can actually help relieve that discomfort. In fact, some research suggests that developing Distress Tolerance skills is one of the most important parts of DBT therapy.
The main premise of DBT is that people with anxiety disorders are having difficulty managing emotions and feeling out of control. The goal of DBT therapy is to teach you skills to help improve your defenses against intense emotions, impulses, and cravings. To accomplish this, therapists introduce an array of DBT skills and techniques in therapy, as well as encourage you to practice them at home. In addition to helping your mental health issues, these skills may also serve as life-long coping mechanisms.