Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) offers individuals comprehensive skills to manage intense emotions and decrease conflicts in their relationships. This modality focuses on 4 specific areas of therapeutic skills.
- Mindfulness – Mindfulness teaches individuals be present in the current moment.
- Distress tolerance – Distress tolerance helps individuals to cope with negative emotions in an adpative manner.
- Emotion regulation – Emotion regulation offers strategies to manage intense emotions on a day-to-day basis.
- Interpersonal effectiveness – These techniques allow an individual to communicate with others in a confident, assertive way that maintains self-respect and strengthens relationships.
How does this treatment work?
Many of us live our daily lives with a constant stream of uncontrollable negative emotions that are sometimes outside of our awareness. These emotions affect how we feel about ourselves and how we interact with other people, including friends, romantic partners and family members.
In DBT, the client works with the clinician to build skills aimed at managing negative emotions so they can feel balanced, in control, and able to interact respectfully and successfully with others.
When is DBT Used and What Can You Expect?
While dialectical behavioral therapy was initially developed to treat those with borderline personality disorder, research has since shown that DBT can successfully treat people with depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, eating disorders, and substance abuse. In my practice, I use an adapted DBT protocol to help clients to manage emotional distress as well as daily stressors.