What is Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)?

Finding the right type of therapy to treat your individual mental health issues can be a challenge. At Your Counselling, we specialize in a variety of treatment strategies including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT). Each therapeutic technique has its special use cases. When you first meet with a new therapist, they will take some time to determine which approach to mental health treatment is best suited to your needs.

In this article, we provide a brief overview of DBT and its benefits so that you can determine whether it may be an option for you.

Background of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based form of cognitive-behavioural treatment developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan in the early 80s. Originally, the therapy was used exclusively to treat individuals suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, but today, it has been successfully used to treat depression, anxiety, PTSD, addiction, eating disorders and other mental illnesses.

The practice of DBT provides individuals with skills to manage difficult emotions and conflict in relationships. Specifically, DBT focuses on four key strategies:

  • Mindfulness – The ability to be present and focus on the current moment
  • Distress Tolerance Skills – Improving one’s resilience towards difficult experiences and painful emotions, rather than trying to escape them
  • Emotion Regulation – Developing skills to manage and change intense emotions that are creating problems in your personal life
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills – The ability to communicate with others effectively and assertively while maintaining self-respect and strengthening relationships

How are DBT and CBT different?

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy and Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy are both forms of psychotherapy—meaning, they both involve working with a mental health professional to learn skills and strategies to cope. However, according to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, CBT focuses on changing negative emotions by altering distorted thoughts and unhelpful behaviours, while DBT focuses on accepting those same thoughts and learning strategies to react to them in a positive way.

Are you a candidate for DBT?

If you find you regularly experience extremely intense negative emotions and are having difficulty managing them, you may be a candidate for DBT. The treatment teaches skills that are helpful for individuals seeking to regulate emotions, tolerate distress more effectively and interact and communicate well, even in times of high stress.

At Your Counselling, we provide effective DBT interventions by trained and caring counsellors both in individual and group therapy sessions. If you think DBT may be an effective option for you, contact us today for a free consultation.