What is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and what mental health conditions is it effective for?

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

DBT is a cognitive behavioral therapy that is intended to help people move toward having a more satisfying and fulfilling life. DBT has strong evidential support that confirms it as a treatment for people with borderline personality disorder including addressing self-destructive behaviors and reducing suicide attempts among individuals with borderline personality disorder and a history of suicidal behaviors. DBT has been found to be effective for a wide variety of mental health conditions as well although it is not considered a front line treatment. This includes Major Depressive Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Eating Disorders and Substance Use Disorders. DBT is based on the premise that people are doing the best they can given their unique set of strengths and challenges and at the same time, they can do better.

DBT Skills

DBT provides clients with new skills to manage painful emotions and decrease conflicts in relationships, focusing on providing therapeutic skills in four areas:

  1. Mindfulness skills
  2. Interpersonal effectiveness skills
  3. Emotion regulation skills
  4. Distress tolerance skills

To learn more about DBT, visit these FAQs from Behavioral Tech.

To learn more about how DBT is an evidence-based practice, visit this page on core evidence from Behavioral Tech.

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