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.

Apply Opposite Action to Painful Emotions

“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.” – Kahlil Gibran Emotions can often be experienced so suddenly or deeply that little time or energy is given to question the facts or happenings that prompted the emotional experience. When emotions feel visceral and real in this way, we may…

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How to Practice “Radical Acceptance”

“The curious paradox is when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” – Carl Rogers In Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), the word “dialectic” refers to balancing and comparing two things that seem to be quite different – even contradictory. In DBT, this balance is between change and acceptance. For many people,…

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What is “Wise Mind?”

“There is a wisdom of the head, and… a wisdom of the heart.” – Charles Dickens There is a natural human tendency to operate from a place of pure reason and pure emotion.  When we are viewing the world through either lens, we miss out on the big picture.  It can feel cold and lifeless…

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How to Give Yourself the Validation You Crave

“Self is the only prison that can ever bind the soul.” – Henry Van Dyke Many people who grow up in an invalidating environment gradually internalize invalidating messages about the self.  This may happen with a child who was never taught to trust his own competency or ability to take care of himself.  This child…

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DBT’s “What” Skills of Mindfulness

“Things are not what they appear to be; nor are they otherwise.” – Surangama Sutra Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), created by Dr. Marsha Linehan, incorporates the practice of mindfulness into almost all aspects of treatment.  While mindfulness is technically its own component or module of treatment, aspects of mindfulness are present throughout the other treatment…

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Jealousy vs. Envy

“Envy assails the noblest: the winds howl around the highest peaks.” – Ovid Jealousy and envy, while painful and distressing, serve important functions in our lives.  Emotions that cause suffering to ourselves and others are designed to act as useful indicators to promote our survival.  If we were to never experience the emotions of jealousy…

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Identify Your True Values

“Action expresses priorities.” – Mohandas K. Gandhi Values are the principles, morals, standards, and ideals that give your life meaning, importance, and worth.  They act as the guiding compass that drives behaviors and determines goals.  When we are unclear or unsure of what our values are, then it is not uncommon to feel lost, adrift,…

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