Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a method of treatment that focuses on the role of cognitions and behaviors in order to reduce treatment interfering and life interfering behaviors. It blends validation and acceptance with acquisition of appropriate coping behaviors and tools in order to reduce high risk and maladaptive behaviors. As in all modes of CBT, there is a continued emphasis on change. DBT focuses on actively teaching and reinforcing adaptive behaviors.
Additionally, DBT focuses on:
• Addressing one’s painful, intense and often overwhelming emotions
• Difficulties with interpersonal relationships
• Self-injurious behaviors
• Impulsive behaviors
• Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
Given that such symptoms can cut across a variety of diagnoses, DBT can be an appropriate treatment modality for such issues as mood disorders, personality disorders, eating disorders, substance use disorders, emotional dysregulation and anger management.
Skills taught in DBT include:
• Mindfulness – learning to be present for and focused on one’s experiences without judgment
• Emotion regulation – identifying and managing one’s emotions
• Distress Tolerance – accepting and coping with uncomfortable emotional states in the moment in order to ease suffering and reduce self-destructive behaviors
• Interpersonal effectiveness – learning how to get what one needs in a more effective way. This can include appropriate assertiveness and conflict resolution skills.
• Self-management – taking care of oneself in a healthy manner
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