Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a type of therapy that teaches new skills in Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation, and Walking the Middle Path.
DBT was developed by Marsha Linehan, PhD to originally treat people with intense mood swings, chaotic interpersonal relationships, impulsiveness, and suicidal / self-harm behaviors. It is based on the biosocial theory that problems develop from an interaction between biological factors and environmental factors and on the idea that opposites can coexist and be synthesized. The ultimate goal is to live a life worth living, which includes being in control of emotions and responses to those emotions. The DBT therapist balances empathy and warm acceptance with a focus on changing behaviors that have been causing agony for the person.
A comprehensive DBT program consists of weekly individual sessions with between-session phone coaching and a weekly skills training class. (Sometimes referred to as a DBT group.) DBT clinicians attend a weekly DBT consultation team meeting to coordinate your care.
DBT is backed by significant research that shows it is an effective therapy with techniques that work. Those in DBT typically have decreased use of emergency room and crisis services, and less than half the rate of suicide attempts as those not in DBT. DBT has expanded and is now shown to be effective for concerns other than those listed above, including anxiety, depression, and managing life stress.