DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) is an evidence-based mental health treatment that gives people the tools they need to manage strong emotions and control impulsive behavior. It was originally developed for people with Borderline Personality Disorder in the early 1990s and it remains the gold standard of treatment for BPD today.
DBT is a skills-based therapy, meaning you will learn particular skills that can be applied in everyday life. The skills fall into four categories: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.
Mindfulness skills allow you to notice emotions building up before they become unmanageable. Mindfulness also helps you to handle difficult emotions without feeling like they will last forever.
Distress tolerance skills help you survive a bad situation without making it worse. For example: if you have a bad day and have urges to self-harm or use substances, distress tolerance skills will help you get through that moment without engaging in a harmful behavior.
Emotion regulation skills help you consistently have more good days than bad ones.
Interpersonal effectiveness skills teach you how to strengthen relationships and get your needs met by changing the way you communicate.
You already have a lot of skills to manage stress and difficult emotions - after all, you've survived every day of your life up to and including today! We'll talk about the strengths you have and use that to influence how we use DBT during sessions. Some skills might be review, and others might be brand new.
Skills are taught and practiced during session. This allows you to practice the skills in a safe space and identify any challenges you might face applying them in the real world.
Skills don't work unless we use them! You will be assigned homework to practice your skills in between appointments. During session, we can discuss what worked and what didn't - and help make changes.