Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan in the 1980's, is a structured type of cognitive-behavioral therapy with blended elements of mindfulness philosophy to increase acceptance and reduce suffering.
DBT started as a treatment for the distress caused by borderline personality disorder and was primarily used to support clients in increasing adaptive behaviors instead of relying on self-harm or other suicidal behaviors. DBT has now been adapted as an effective treatment for substance abuse, eating disorders, and PTSD.
The goal of DBT is for everyone to experience a “life worth living,” and includes psychotherapy and skills training in interpersonal effectiveness, emotional regulation, distress tolerance, and mindfulness. DBT also emphasizes the client-therapist relationship as a corrective, non-judgmental part of the healing process that can address the impact of an invalidating history (trauma & neglect).
The “dialectical” of DBT refers to the treatment’s focus on the integration of seemingly contradictory ideas, such as balancing both acceptance and change. These efforts to resolve contradictions happen both in treatment and outside the therapy room. In our everyday lives we all work to balance opposing forces — work vs. play, our needs vs. the needs of others. Our therapists will work with you to find this balance and navigate challenges successfully.
Learn more about DBT: behavioraltech.org/resources/whatisdbt