What is Dialectic Behaviour Therapy (DBT)?
DBT is a talking therapy that is based on Cognitive Behavioural therapy (CBT).
However, DBT is aimed primarily at people who experience emotions very intensely. DBT was originally developed to treat those who have a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder, but can also be very helpful for people with eating disorders, depression and those with self-harming or suicidal behaviours.
DBT is based around ‘dialectics’ which could be described as examining and balancing opposing positions. In therapy, DBT will be focused on acceptance: accepting yourself as you are, and change: making positive changes to improve the quality of your life. While these might seem to be in opposition, it is only through really accepting who we are and how we experience the world that we can make changes.
With DBT, you will learn to manage your difficult emotions by recognising, experiencing and accepting them. As you learn to do this, you will learn how to regulate your emotions and to change harmful behaviour.
DBT can be offered in a variety of ways and is often a combination of individual therapy, skills training in groups and telephone coaching.
At Brighton and Hove Psychotherapy, we are able to offer individual therapy. Within this therapy, there is a hierarchy of goals, which are:
- Keeping you safe – reducing any self-harming or suicidal behaviour.
- Reducing therapy-interfering behaviour – we will address any issues that interfere with you being able to engage with the therapy process.
- To help you set and achieve your goals – we will address issues that prohibit you from reaching your goals so to enable you to improve your quality of life.
- Help you learn new skills – these new skills will help you to replace unhelpful behaviours and move towards achieving your goals.
The types of skills you will learn in the individual sessions are:
Mindfulness: This will help you to focus on the present rather than be distracted by thoughts and worries about the past or future.
Distress tolerance: This will help you to tolerate emotional pain in a difficult situation without trying to change it or resort to self-harming behaviours.
Interpersonal effectiveness: This will help you to be more effective in your relationships, to ask for help, be able to say ‘no’ and maintain your self-respect.
Emotional regulation: This will enable you to understand and be aware of your emotions and to have more control over them.
Is DBT right for me?
DBT is aimed at people who experience intense emotions and who want to change their behaviours. DBT does require commitment and at times it can be hard work.
However, if you wish to make changes in your life, want to learn emotional regulation, and to change harmful behaviours, then DBT is a well-researched therapy that could help.
If you are interested in finding out more, please get in touch.