Dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based psychotherapy that was developed in the late 1980s by psychologist Marsha Linehan. DBT is an effective treatment for people who have difficulty managing their emotions, and it is commonly used to treat Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). DBT focuses on helping individuals learn to cope with their emotions, develop healthier relationships, and improve their overall quality of life.
At the core of DBT is the idea of dialectics, which is the integration of two seemingly opposite ideas or approaches in order to create a third, more balanced viewpoint. In DBT, this concept is applied to the relationship between acceptance and change. The goal of treatment is to help individuals accept and make peace with their present reality, while also helping them to make changes that will enable them to reach their goals and live a more fulfilling life.
DBT involves four key components:
Mindfulness - Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on the present moment and accepting it without judgement. DBT teaches individuals how to be mindful of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours in order to gain insight into their behaviours and responses to situations.
Distress Tolerance - Distress tolerance is the ability to cope with difficult emotions and situations without engaging in unhealthy behaviours. DBT teaches individuals how to tolerate distress and practice self-care instead of turning to harmful behaviours.
Emotion Regulation - Emotion regulation is the ability to identify and manage emotions in a healthy way. DBT teaches individuals how to identify their emotions, understand the role they play in their lives, and develop strategies to manage them in a healthy way.
Interpersonal Effectiveness - Interpersonal effectiveness is the ability to communicate effectively with others and advocate for yourself. DBT teaches individuals how to set boundaries, communicate assertively, and establish and maintain healthy relationships.
When it comes to treatment, DBT is usually provided in individual and group therapy sessions. The individual sessions are used to provide skills training and coaching, while the group sessions are used to provide a supportive environment where individuals can practice their newly acquired skills and receive feedback from their peers.
Overall, DBT is an effective treatment for people who have difficulty managing their emotions and it is a particularly helpful approach for people with Borderline Personality Disorder. Through a combination of individual and group therapy sessions, DBT helps individuals learn to cope with their emotions, develop healthier relationships, and improve their overall quality of life.
Pros of Dialectical Behavioural Therapy
- Focuses on both the acceptance of current circumstances and change
- Teaches new coping skills to reduce distress
- Can be used to treat a variety of mental health issues
- Focuses on helping clients develop a new perspective
- Teaches mindfulness and self-awareness
- Can be used in both individual and group therapy settings
Cons of Dialectical Behavioural Therapy
- Requires a high level of commitment from the client
- Can be time consuming and expensive
- Not suitable for clients who are unable to engage in the therapy process
- May not be appropriate for clients with severe mental illness
- May be difficult to find a qualified therapist