Dialectal Behavioral Therapy: What is It?

Dialectal Behavioral Therapy: What is It?

Woman consulting a psychiatristOne form of cognitive behavioral treatment used in psychotherapy is dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). Its primary emphasis is on the psychosocial aspect of therapy. DBT has been used since the late 1980s to treat various mental health disorders including personality disorders, posttraumatic stress, and addiction.

DBT is one of the most effective treatments psychiatrists in Westport use. It has in fact been effective where other treatment models have failed. Here are the various therapy components incorporated in DBT:

Skills training

The patient’s capabilities are enhanced in DBT through the development of new and strengthening of existing skills. Skills training comprises of four main components. Distress tolerance teaches the patient how to accept painful situations while emotion regulation focuses on changing the emotions he or she wants to change. Mindfulness teaches the patient to be present and fully aware in the moment while interpersonal effectiveness focuses on interpersonal relationships.


In-the-moment support is provided in DBT through coaching including telephone and various in vivo coaching techniques. Coaching seeks to transfer the skills learned in therapy to the everyday life of the patient. The patient is hence free to get in touch with the therapist between their sessions to get assistance on how to handle various situations.

Individual therapy

This is aimed at enhancing the patient’s motivation. The therapist helps the patient to apply the skills learned in treatment to specific areas of his or her life to reduce harmful behaviors. In a standard DBT model, the individual therapy sessions happen once a week and run concurrently with skills training for the duration of therapy.

A consultation team is also a core component of DBT. This team provides continuous support therapy to skills training group leaders, therapists, case managers and other professionals handling treatment. This is important to help the therapists remain motivated, manage burnout and share their knowledge to give their patients the very best of treatment.

Comments are closed.