DBT was originated by Marsha Linehan in 1991 and was originally designed for those suffering from Borderline Pesonality Disorder. Recently, it has been shown to be effective with substance abuse, eating disorders, anxiety, and depression. Clients who struggle with managing intense emotions, have unstable relationships, and engage in impulsive of self-damaging behaviors can benefit from DBT. DBT is a modification of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). A key assumption in DBT is that self-destructive behaviors are learned coping techniques for intense and negative emotions.
What is Taught in DBT?
The goal of DBT is to develop skills in:
Core Mindfulness: learning how to be present in the here and now and have more control over your mind
Interpersonal Effectiveness: learning how to communicate assertively in relationships while enhancing the relationship and maintaining self-respect
Emotion Regulation: learning how to understand your emotions and improve your ability to manage your emotions
Distress Tolerance: learning how to cope with distress without self-destructive behavior patterns
How Can I Get the Most Benefit Out of DBT?
Research has shown that DBT is most effective with three modes of treatment--individual therapy, skills group, and phone coaching. Unlike with regular group psychotherapy, these skills groups focus on teaching clients four sets of important skills--mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance. Also, clients are also encouraged to call their individual therapists for skills coaching prior to engaging in self-destructive behaviors. In the coaching call, the therapist will assist the client in providing alternatives to self-harm behaviors.