What is Dialectical Behaviour Therapy?
DBT teaches you skills in Mindfulness, Emotion Regulation, Distress Tolerance and Interpersonal Effectiveness. The therapy is delivered through a combination of psychoeducation, talk therapy, guided exercises, activities, and homework tasks.
How can DBT help you?
It can help with improving mood regulation (i.e. anxiety/depression), improving intimate, social and work relationships, equipping you with the skills to cope when in distress or during crisis situations, reducing unhelpful behaviours (i.e. emotional eating, substance use, gambling) and bringing a greater sense of acceptance to yourself, generally.
Mindfulness is probably the most important aspect of DBT because we have been trained not to be mindful. We’re like ants, scurrying around – hurry, hurry, hurry, but going nowhere.
Mindfulness forces you to focus on the present. Ask yourself, “Am I treading water? Am I at the bottom of a rung I want to be on or the middle of one I don’t?” When you choose mindfulness, you look at your life for a moment.
Your questions aren’t all going to be answered in one moment of mindfulness. It’s something that must be practiced every day. DBT is an excellent medium for learning skills of mindfulness and interpersonal relationships. When therapy is complete, you’ve acquired an outstanding toolkit of skills to reach for in any situation.
Why is DBT effective?
DBT is all about building a life worth living and reducing suffering. It aims to find the synthesis of opposites. It embraces the idea that real change is possible, but that to create real change we first need to find the synthesis between acceptance and change.
DBT affirms that everything is always changing, that truth evolves over time, and that everything is connected, ultimately. To change ourselves, we first have to accept ourselves. DBT also affirms that change is transactional, and that everything is being impacted by everything it’s connected to. We often assume that all behaviour is chosen and deliberate and often it is simply automatic.
However, independent of what caused the problem, we do have to solve it. DBT helps you to give up judgment and the idea of “good and bad” and instead evaluate the consequences of behaviour by focussing on what is effective and what works.