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Dialectical Behavioural Therapy

Dialectical Behavioural Therapy

What is DBT and is it right for me?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a comprehensive and evidence-based form of psychotherapy that was initially developed by Dr. Marsha M. Linehan. DBT combines cognitive-behavioral techniques with elements of mindfulness and acceptance strategies. It was originally designed to treat individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD), but it has proven effective for a range of other mental health conditions characterized by emotional dysregulation and difficulties in interpersonal relationships.

DBT is structured around the concept of dialectics, which refers to the integration of seemingly opposing ideas or perspectives. In the context of therapy, this involves finding a balance between acceptance and change. The four main components of DBT are:

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This component involves cultivating awareness of the present moment without judgment and observing and describing experiences without getting overwhelmed by emotions.

Distress Tolerance

DBT teaches strategies for managing crisis situations without making impulsive or destructive decisions. These skills help individuals tolerate distress without resorting to harmful behaviors.

Emotion Regulation

Individuals learn to identify and label their emotions, understand the functions of emotions, and develop healthier ways to regulate intense feelings.

Interpersonal Effectiveness

This component focuses on improving communication skills, setting boundaries, and navigating interpersonal relationships more effectively.

Someone might benefit from DBT if they experience challenges related to emotional regulation, self-destructive behaviors, impulsive actions, or difficulties in forming and maintaining stable relationships. DBT is particularly effective for individuals with conditions such as borderline personality disorder, but it has also been adapted for other mental health issues, including mood disorders, substance use disorders, eating disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder.


DBT offers a structured and skill-based approach that empowers individuals to cope with distressing emotions, develop a greater understanding of themselves, and build a life worth living. The emphasis on acceptance and change, combined with practical skills training, makes DBT a valuable therapeutic modality for individuals seeking to improve their emotional well-being and enhance their overall quality of life.

Who Would Benefit from DBT?

How To Know That It Is Right For You

Individuals with
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)


DBT was initially developed to treat BPD. It helps individuals manage intense emotions, reduce self-destructive behaviours, and improve interpersonal relationships.

Those Struggling with
Chronic Suicidal Thoughts or Self-Harm


DBT's emphasis on distress tolerance and emotion regulation makes it valuable for individuals dealing with chronic suicidal thoughts or engaging in self-harming behaviours.

People with Substance Use Disorders and Co-occurring Issues


DBT has been adapted to address substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health issues. It helps individuals build coping skills, regulate emotions, and prevent relapse.

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