What is Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)?
Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) was originally developed to treat chronically suicidal individuals diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPT). It is based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), with more focus on intense emotional and relational turbulence, helping people to learn practical, effective skills in order to gain control over volatile moods and harmful behavior to self and/or others. The goal is to help individuals to learn to manage emotions, build relationships with others, cope better with problems or distress and create a life worth living.
If you live with angry outbursts, self-harm, have trouble controlling your emotions and impulses, and maintaining healthy relationships, DBT may be for you.
What to Expect
DBT treatment involves skills training group, individual treatment, phone coaching, and therapist consultation team. A weekly 2-hour (over 20 weeks) skills training group teaches behavioral skills in order to enhance clients’ capabilities. It focuses on managing behavioral, emotional and cognitive instability. Weekly 1-hour individual psychotherapy focuses on enhancing motivation and helps clients to apply the skills to specific challenges and events in their lives. Phone coaching is also available as needed.
Treatment is structured to include:
- A 30-minute assessment to ensure DBT is for you;
- A 1-hour orientation session where assessment findings are shared, and the DBT process and treatment plan are explained;
- A discussion of the use of daily diary cards, weekly homework assignments, and a contract for completion of the DBT program.
- Recommendation of other therapies for those unable to commit to the DBT program.
Who Should Consider DBT?
Anyone who is having difficulty maintaining positive relationships with others, who has trouble controlling their mood, impulses, and behavior, and who struggles with substance abuse, PTSD, depression and anxiety, self-harm, eating disorders, and/or has suicidal thoughts and attempts can find help with this therapy.
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. (2019). Dialectical behavior therapy.
Behavioral Tech (2019). Resources for Clients and Families.
University of Washington, Behavioral Research and Therapy Clinics (2019). Dialectical behavior therapy.