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WHAT IS DBT

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) was developed by Marsha Linehan at the University of Washington. She developed this therapy to help clients with suicidal and self-harming behaviors, and this therapy has shown promise for other difficulties including anger management, trauma recovery, and impulsive behavior. DBT is often offered as an individual therapy and in a group skills-building format. Specific skills-building modules include:

MINDFULNESS. In this module specific mindfulness skills are taught and practiced. Clients practice being present in the current moment and more aware of what is happening inside them and around them. There is a focus on integration of logic and emotion so that clients make effective decisions.

INTERPERSONAL EFFECTIVENESS. In this module, the group learns how to balance their priorities and objectives as they related to interpersonal relationships. Are you giving up too much of yourself? How can make your relationships stronger and still be true to yourself, your values and get your needs met? Are you clear about what your objective is? These are the kinds of questions addressed in this module.

EMOTIONAL REGULATION. The group learns the skills of recognizing emotions, identifying automatic thoughts, and how these emotions and thoughts lead to behaviors. The awareness of patterns leads to interventions targeted at modifying the thoughts, providing distance/pause from the strong emotions, and changing longstanding behavior patterns.

DISTRESS TOLERANCE. Distress tolerance is a form of crisis survival. It is a group of skills for when there is no way to change a difficult situation and one must “tolerate the distress”. Accepting unchangeable situations and developing coping skills are the core of this module.