First of all, what is it?
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is “a type of psychotherapy — or talk therapy — that utilizes a cognitive-behavioral approach,” according to John M. Grohol, Psy.D. Originally, psychologist Marsha M. Linehan developed this type of therapy to treat Borderline Personality Disorder. However, DBT has since been used to treat a wide variety of mental health issues with great success.
How does it work?
There are a number of different ways to practice Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. Firstly, the client meets with their therapist on a weekly basis either in a private session or a group session. Private sessions are more tailored to the individual and the concerns that arose in the previous week. Meanwhile, group sessions tend to focus on the 4 core focuses of DBT. These focuses include mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance and emotion regulation. For example, one of the skills is called “opposite action.” Opposite action can be helpful when we are struggling to regulate our emotions. During this skill, we would learn to react opposite to the situation. That is to say, be the ice to their fire and vice-versa.
Secondly, the therapist will give you assignments and “homework” that you will do during and between each session. You can learn how to manage emotional trauma rather than minimizing trauma or taking things out of proportion through these assignments. Telephone contact with the individual therapist between sessions may (also) be part of DBT procedures.” (Linehan, 2014)
Mental Health Issues that DBT Can Treat:
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Bipolar Disorder and other personality disorders
- Eating Disorders
- Major Depressive Disorder
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Substance Abuse Disorder