Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a cognitive behavior therapy that treats clients mainly diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder (BPD). In several different independent scientific studies, DBT has proved to be effective. It is the best researched psychotherapeutic ambulant treatment program for BPD.
‘It’s not a suicide prevention program, it’s a life worth living program.’ (Linehan)
DBT supports the development of emotion regulation by means of learning different skills, which results in more confidence and a more bearable life. DBT teaches the client to try new skills and to stay motivated.
Elements of DBT
- DBT skills training: behavioral skills are taught and practiced
- Individual DBT therapy: focuses on strengthening the motivation of the client to apply the skills in daily life.
- DBT telephone consultation: to support the client in applying the skills during a difficult situation.
- Consultation team for DBT therapists: helps therapists to stay motivated and competent.
Skills that clients learn
- Mindfulness: balance the ’emotional mind’ and ‘rational mind’, in order to reach to the ‘wise mind’.
- Interpersonal effectiveness: ask what someone needs, be able to say no, and be able to deal with interpersonal conflicts.
- Emotion regulation: understand emotions, decrease emotional vulnerability and emotional suffering.
- Distress tolerance: accepting of yourself and the situation on a non-judgmental manner.
Target group – Borderline disorder
A borderline personality disorder (BPD) is characterized by: a pattern of emotional instability, impulsive and reckless behavior, and interpersonal instability (having trouble with relationships and insecurity about life goals). However, DBT has been proven effective for a variety of other disorders, such as addiction, depression, PTSD and eating disorders.