Dialectical-behavioral therapy (DBT) was developed by Marsha Linehan in the late 1980s. It is often used for borderline personality disorder, which is characterized by unstable relationships, self-image, and mood, but has a range of applications. It is useful in helping people learn skills to manage their emotions and reactivity. There are four skills taught in DBT:

 

1. Distress Tolerance- helps you learn how to cope with intense, overwhelming emotions without resorting to self-destructive coping strategies; for example, using distraction or engaging in pleasurable, relaxing, or soothing activities.

 

2. Mindfulness- helps you learn how to be present with difficult thoughts and emotions without judgment or resistance. You can learn more about mindfulness specifically in this blog post.

 

3. Emotional Regulation- helps you learn how to manage the intensity of your emotions by using strategies such as naming your emotions and determining how to respond to them in a skillful, or wise way, rather than react to urges and acting out in a damaging way.

 

4. Interpersonal Effectiveness- helps you learn how to maintain your relationships by appropriately expressing how you feel and asserting what you want or need as well as learning how to say no. You can learn more about assertive communication here.

 

My favorite workbook for learning DBT skills is The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook.

 

If you are interested in learning more or in working with me please go to my homepage to contact me or schedule your free 15-minute phone call.

 

Please note that this information is intended for informational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for psychological or medical care. If you are looking for professional help, visit my resources page for guidance on how to find a therapist. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest ER.

© 2020 Carissa Gustafson, Psy.D.  All rights reserved.