Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)


    Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a specialized and evidence-based form of cognitive-behavioral therapy developed by Dr. Marsha M. Linehan in the 1980s. It was initially designed to treat individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD), but it has since been adapted to address various other mental health conditions characterized by emotional dysregulation, impulsivity, self-destructive behaviors, and interpersonal difficulties. DBT is known for its unique synthesis of acceptance and change strategies.


    information and appointments, please get in touch.

    Dialectical Approach

    The term "dialectical" in DBT refers to the integration of seemingly opposing concepts: acceptance and change. It acknowledges that individuals can simultaneously accept themselves as they are while working to change harmful behaviors or patterns.

    Four Core Modules

    DBT consists of four core modules, each designed to address specific areas of dysfunction:

    Mindfulness: This module teaches individuals to be fully present in the moment, observe their thoughts and emotions without judgment, and develop self-awareness. Mindfulness skills are crucial for emotional regulation and effective decision-making.

    Distress Tolerance: Distress tolerance skills help individuals manage intense, distressing emotions without resorting to self-destructive behaviors. These skills include crisis survival techniques and acceptance of difficult situations.

    Emotion Regulation: This module helps individuals identify and understand their emotions, learn to regulate their emotional responses, and reduce emotional vulnerability. It includes strategies for decreasing impulsivity and improving emotional control.

    Interpersonal Effectiveness: Interpersonal effectiveness skills teach individuals how to navigate and improve relationships. This module includes assertiveness training, boundary setting, and conflict resolution techniques.

    Individual and Group Therapy

    DBT is typically delivered in two components: individual therapy and group skills training. In individual sessions, clients work with a therapist to address personal challenges, while group skills training provides a structured and supportive environment for learning and practicing DBT skills.


    Validation is a key aspect of DBT. Therapists validate clients' experiences and emotions, acknowledging their pain and suffering. This validation can help individuals feel heard and understood, promoting the therapeutic relationship.

    Behavioral Analysis

    DBT uses behavioral analysis to help individuals understand the function of their behaviors. This involves identifying the triggers, consequences, and reinforcing factors behind problematic actions, which can inform more adaptive responses.

    Phone Coaching

    DBT therapists often offer phone coaching to clients between sessions, providing support and guidance during times of crisis or when clients need assistance in applying DBT skills to real-life situations.

    Commitment to Therapy

    Clients in DBT commit to a treatment agreement that includes attending therapy sessions, completing homework assignments, and working toward specific treatment goals.


    While initially developed for BPD, DBT has proven effective in treating various conditions, including mood disorders, substance use disorders, eating disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

    Empirical Support

    DBT is an empirically supported treatment with a growing body of research demonstrating its effectiveness in improving emotional regulation, reducing self-harm, and enhancing overall well-being.

    In summary, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a comprehensive and integrative therapeutic approach that combines acceptance and change strategies to help individuals with emotional dysregulation, impulsivity, and problematic interpersonal relationships. With a focus on mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness, DBT provides a structured framework for improving emotional and behavioral control and promoting healthier relationships.