Dialectical Behavior Therapy

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.

Check the Facts Before Acting on Emotions

“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.…

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Exercise for Anxiety: How to Tolerate Uncertainty

“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…

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The Power of Radical Acceptance When You Feel Miserable

“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…

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Basic Assertiveness Skills for Interpersonal Effectiveness

“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,…

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Mood-Dependent Behavior vs. Strategic Behavior

“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…

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Improve the Moment with Emotion Regulation Strategies

“‘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…

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Tolerate Distress with Self-Soothing Thoughts

“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…

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How to Use Emotion Regulation Coping Skills

“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…

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10 Practical Examples of Opposite Action – Part Two

“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…

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10 Practical Examples of Opposite Action – Part One

“The walls we build around us to keep sadness out also keeps out the joy.” – Jim Rohn When you find yourself experiencing an emotion that is somehow getting in the way of harmonious relationships with others, pursuit of your goals, or living in accordance with your true values, opposite action can be an incredibly…

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