Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is an expansion of standard cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan. DBT uses CBT techniques and Eastern mindfulness practices, including meditation, and focuses on the balance between change and acceptance strategies.
According to Dr. Linehan, dialectic means, “weighing and integrating contradictory facts or ideas with a view to resolving apparent contradictions.” The fundamental dialectic in DBT therapy is between validation and acceptance of the patient as they are, while simultaneously helping them to change.
The emphasis on validation is key in DBT, and the therapist helps the patient work on accepting uncomfortable thoughts, feelings and behaviors rather than struggling with them.
Once an identified thought, emotion or behavior has been validated, the process of change no longer appears impossible, and the goals of gradual transformation towards emotional health can become a reality. Patients often come to DBT therapy wanting help dealing with stress and anxiety or to relieve depression.
DBT focuses on the development of coping skills and acceptance strategies including mindfulness, paying attention to the present moment in a non-judgmental way, and distress tolerance skills.
Change strategies in DBT include skills training in emotional regulation and interpersonal effectiveness, as well as behavioral analysis of maladaptive behaviors and problem-solving techniques.
For more information about DBT, visit Dr. Linehan’s website: www.behavioraltech.org