Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a mindfulness-based third wave behavioral therapy that focuses on balancing the dialectical tension between acceptance and change, which can enable the synthesis of opposing thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. DBT is a skill-based behavioral therapeutic approach that has demonstrated strong research support for the effective treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), which often involves self-injurious behaviors, dichotomous thinking, and labile moods. DBT interventions and skills are encapsulated within four modules: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. Within the therapeutic setting, DBT is often practiced as a form of group therapy, although DBT principles and skills can be used effectively with individuals.
One of the main ideas underlying DBT is that while you may not be responsible for all of the events that have occurred to create the current problem you are facing (however severe), you are nonetheless responsible for effectively solving the problem. DBT can be quite effective for learning concrete behavioral skills to manage emotions, tolerate intense distress, and effectively relate to others with healthy assertiveness. Through actively practicing DBT skills, one can learn how to gradually build a balanced life unencumbered by self-destructive behaviors or emotional volatility.
“No feeling is final.” – Rainer Maria Rilke There is no such thing as an inherently “bad” emotion. The ability to experience a broad range of emotions is a natural, healthy part of being human. However, most of us know that plenty of emotions may feel incredibly uncomfortable, while many other emotions seem universally desirable.…Read More
“If there’s a single lesson that life teaches us, it’s that wishing doesn’t make it so.” – Lev Grossman Have you ever sprung into action after experiencing an emotion without pausing to reflect with mindfulness? You’re certainly not alone if you can relate to this tendency to react, rather than respond to your present moment experience.…Read More
“It’s not a terrible thing that we feel fear when faced with the unknown. It is part of being alive, something we all share.” – Pema Chödrön Uncertainty is often connected with a sense of doubt, anxiety, or fear. This is understandable. The ability to use the information available to us to make the best choice…Read More
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” – Lao Tzu There is no denying that most of us know what it’s like to feel just plain miserable. That statement may strike you…Read More
“To know what you prefer, instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive.” – Robert Louis Stevenson Interpersonal effectiveness is one of the four modules of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) that focuses on specific skills to draw upon for effective communication,…Read More
“Life is a train of moods like a string of beads; and as we pass through them they prove to be many colored lenses, which paint the world their own hue, and each shows us only what lies in its own focus.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson One of the trickiest behaviors to overcome or change…Read More
“‘Well,’ said Pooh, ‘what I like best,’ and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.” – A.A. Milne…Read More
“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” – William James Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) teaches distress tolerance skills as a way to mindfully tolerate and move through uncomfortable thoughts, emotions, and sensations. Internal distress can feel overwhelming and unbearable at times, but reacting to distress by fighting or…Read More
“The appearance of things change according to the emotions and thus we see magic and beauty in them, while the magic and beauty are really in ourselves.” – Kahlil Gibran Emotion regulation is all about identifying, managing, and responding to emotions in a way that allows them to be useful and productive aspects of your…Read More
“Almost all of us long for peace and freedom; but very few of us have much enthusiasm for the thoughts, feelings, and actions that make for peace and freedom.” – Aldous Huxley In my last post, “10 Practical Examples of Opposite Action – Part One,” we explored a variety of distressing, intense, or difficult emotional…Read More