What is DBT?
Dialectical behavior therapy is a psychological treatment method that combines CBT with two additional techniques:
- Dialectics, which relies on discussion or dialog to explore and resolve issues
- Mindfulness, which encourages individuals to become more aware of and present in the moment, so that concerns about the future or rumination about the past do not interfere with their ability to enjoy life.
DBT is particularly effective for patients who tend to see situations as polarized (black or white, right or wrong).
DBT was developed as a technique for patients suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), and has subsequently been shown to be effective for treating patients with a variety of symptoms and behaviors associated with mood disorders.
Patients participating in DBT take part in both individual and group sessions:
- During individual sessions, the patient and therapist meet to discuss issues that have arisen during the previous week. Issues are prioritized. Self-injurious behaviors take top priority, followed by behaviors that interfere with therapy, quality of life issues and finally, life improvement goals. The goal of individual sessions is to improve specific life skills.
- During group sessions, several DBT patients meet to practice different life skills in a safe, controlled environment. These skills include recognizing and controlling emotions, tolerating distress, or staying mindful.