DBT.  I’ve Heard About It. But What Is It?? 

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is a mindfulness-based, cognitive behavioral therapy approach that focuses on building skills to improve the quality of one’s life. Based on the belief that real change is possible, DBT was originally developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan of the University of Washington in Seattle to help individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder reduce suicidal and other self-harming behaviors.  Although the strongest evidence exists for DBT as a treatment for individuals with this disorder, DBT has been found to be effective for a variety of individuals who have significant difficulties managing their emotions.

Although I often integrate DBT principles in individual therapy, DBT skills are also taught in a group environment and include weekly homework assignments, review of homework, and new skills learning.  The main advantages of building skills in a group format is that group members quickly learn they are not alone in their struggles and they profoundly learn how to use the skills from each other.  Whether introduced in individual or group work, there are four skill-building components in DBT:

1.     Mindfulness: to build self and social awareness (two mental assets that matter significantly in how we navigate the world)

2.     Emotion Regulation: to be able to accept and manage difficult emotions such as anger and sadness, and reduce unhealthy behavioral urges

3.     Distress Tolerance: to be more capable of dealing with crises or other difficult situations without making them worse

4.     Interpersonal Effectiveness: to improve self esteem, get your objectives met, learn how and when to say no, and build lasting relationships

For a confidential phone consultation on how DBT-informed psychotherapy might help you manage your emotions, tolerate stress with less distress, or improve your relationships, please contact me at 224-408-0115, or email me at: rstrauss@thrivepsychotherapyllc.com