What Is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy?

What Is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy?

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-April 13, 2017


Dialectical behavioral therapy was designed with a foundation of cognitive behavioral therapy. As cognitive behavioral therapy started gaining renown in the therapy and treatment world, some mental health disorders were being left out of its effectiveness, like borderline personality disorder. Dialectical behavioral therapy was created to take some of the core components of cognitive behavioral therapy and add on what was need to make treating borderline personality disorder effective.

Today, dialectical behavioral therapy, or DBT is highly effective in treating borderline, post traumatic stress disorder, addiction, anxiety, depression, and many other issues. DBT works by helping people work through their intense reactions to especially emotional situations.

How Does Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Work?

DBT focuses on four core areas: mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and emotional regulation. Within each area, different tools are used to learn, understand, and apply these tools in everyday situations. For example, reality acceptance is a common tool used in DBT. Similar to CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy, DBT helps clients identify sabotaging behaviors, thoughts, assumptions, and emotionally charged reactions. By learning to take a pause between emotional situations and emotional reactions, people can learn how to slow down their mood swings and create a healthy response instead of a reaction.

How Is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Conducted?

Individual therapists can be trained in DBT and help guide their clients through learning the skills they need. Workbooks and self-help books for DBT skills are also available which people can use for self-guided work, because DBT is both a therapy method and a skillset. Many weekly groups are available around the country which meet to process issues, learn DBT skills, and practice. These groups often have a licensed therapist leading the groups and utilize a DBT workbook.

Is DBT Effective?

Borderline personality disorder is one of the most challenging psychiatric disorders to treat, as regarded by many mental health professionals. The lack of boundaries and considerable mood swings make working with borderline incredibly difficult. DBT is effective in helping such an extreme disorder find calm, regulation, and balance.


Get Real Recovery employs the use of DBT, CBT, and many other treatment methods to create individualized treatment programs designed to meet the needs of each client. Our programs focus on eliminating self-sabotaging behaviors and uncover underlying issues which stand in the way of success in sobriety. For more information on our residential and partial care treatment programs, call 866-983-3651.

Shruti C
Shruti C, on in Healthy Living, Recovery

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