Dialectical behaviour therapy, or DBT, uses different techniques to help people with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and other mental health issues learn how to cope better with the world around them. Whether you’re interested in learning more about the theory behind DBT or are wondering what the therapy involves, this brief introduction will help you out with both.

What is DBT?

Dialectical behaviour therapy, or DBT, is a type of cognitive behavioural therapy developed by Marsha Linehan. While originally designed to treat borderline personality disorder, it has since been expanded and applied to a variety of mental health issues. Dialectical behaviour therapy, also known as DBT, is a relatively new form of psychotherapy that is just beginning to gain acceptance with mainstream therapists. It was developed over two decades ago by Dr. Marsha Linehan at the University of Washington and has become increasingly popular for helping people overcome chronic anxiety and achieve more stability in their lives.

In what ways is DBT different from CBT?

DBT is often described as a combination of cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and Eastern philosophy. The main focus of DBT is to learn coping skills that can be used when dealing with intense or distressing emotions, like stress or sadness. CBT teaches people how to react differently when they encounter life’s difficulties, such as managing negative thoughts or addressing social problems. One of these approaches isn’t inherently better than another—it really comes down to an individual’s needs and preferences. Some people may benefit more from using CBT techniques on their own, while others might prefer learning through a more hands-on approach.

What are some examples of dialectical behavioural therapy techniques?

According to Dr. Christine Moutier, psychiatrist, and chief medical officer at SAMHSA (the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), dialectical behavioural therapy techniques include mindfulness, thought challenging, emotion regulation and distress tolerance. Essentially, these skills enable you to become aware of your emotions so that you can challenge negative thoughts that might trigger you to behave in a manner that could get you into trouble. Distress tolerance skills are designed to help you tolerate distressing situations without feeling overwhelmed. You learn how to avoid situations that might cause a problem before they happen. Finally, emotion regulation strategies help people who have problems managing their feelings appropriately.

What does the acronym DBT stand for?

DBT is an abbreviation for dialectical behaviour therapy. This is a well-researched treatment model developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan, a psychologist from Seattle, Washington. Dialectical behaviour therapy was designed to treat individuals who suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), although its methodology has since been applied successfully to other populations. The theory behind DBT can be traced back to Zen Buddhism and focuses on three concepts: mindfulness, acceptance, and change or balance. DBT seeks to instil these three qualities into patients so that they may lead more fulfilling lives free of impulsive and self-destructive behaviours that have previously caused them so much pain and anguish.

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