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.

How to Practice Self-Soothing

“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson When feeling heightened levels of stress and anxiety, it can be especially difficult to draw upon our inner resources to practice self-soothing. During difficult situations that tend to increase our levels of distress, it is especially important to have a self-care toolkit already prepared…

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How to Use Grounding to Calm Yourself

“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.…

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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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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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