What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)?
DBT is a modified version of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). Psychologist Dr. Marsha Linehan created DBT to help individuals who struggle with chronic suicidal thoughts and self-harming behaviors.
What does one learn in DBT?
DBT teaches skills in 4 areas:
1. Mindfulness: Learning to be more aware of one’s thoughts and feelings, and being able to experience self-destructive thoughts without acting on them. This includes skills such as meditation and progression relaxation.
2. Distress Tolerance: Often called “coping skills,” distress tolerance skills help individuals ride out difficult emotional situations and urges to self-harm until the intensity decreases. These skills include distraction and self-soothing.
3. Emotional Regulation: Learning to have more control over one’s emotions. A major component in emotional well-being is taking proactive steps for overall wellness. This includes sleep hygiene, eating habits, and taking medications as prescribed. Emotional Regulation also involves cognitive strategies that encourage exploring multiple perspectives and challenging the assumptions one makes.
4. Interpersonal Effectiveness: High emotional intensity can put a strain on relationships. IE skills teach individuals how to communicate their feelings and needs to others while strengthening the relationship.