DBT stands for Dialectical Behavior Therapy. It is a therapeutic approach that was originally developed by psychologist Marsha M. Linehan in the 1980s to help individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD). DBT has since been found effective in treating other mental health conditions as well.
DBT combines various elements, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques, mindfulness practices, and elements of acceptance and dialectics. It is based on the idea that individuals experience intense emotional dysregulation and have difficulty managing distressing emotions effectively.
The four main components of DBT are:
- Skills training: In DBT, individuals are taught specific skills to help them manage their emotions, improve relationships, and cope with distress effectively. These skills include mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness.
- Individual therapy: Individuals attend regular one-on-one therapy sessions with a trained DBT therapist. The therapist helps the individual apply the skills they are learning to their specific challenges and guides them in working towards their therapeutic goals.
- Group therapy: DBT often includes group therapy sessions where individuals can practice using the skills they are learning, receive support from others, and learn from their peers' experiences. Group therapy can provide a sense of community and help individuals feel understood.
- Phone coaching: In between sessions, individuals participating in DBT may have access to phone coaching. This allows them to reach out to their therapist for support and guidance during times of distress or when they are struggling to use their skills.
DBT has been shown to be effective in reducing self-harm, suicidal behaviors, and improving overall emotional well-being. It is often recommended for individuals with borderline personality disorder, but it can also be beneficial for individuals with other mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, or substance use disorders.