What is DBT?
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a cognitive behavioral treatment that was originally developed to treat chronically suicidal individuals diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and it is now recognized as the gold standard psychological treatment for this population. In addition, research has shown that it is effective in treating a wide range of other disorders such as substance dependence, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and eating disorders.
What are the components of DBT?
In its standard form, there are four components of DBT: skills training group, individual treatment, DBT phone coaching, and consultation team.
- DBT skills training group is focused on enhancing clients' capabilities by teaching them behavioral skills. The group is run like a class where the group leader teaches the skills and assigns homework for clients to practice using the skills in their everyday lives. Groups meet on a weekly basis for approximately 2 hours and it takes 24 weeks to get through the full skills curriculum, which is often repeated to create a 1-year program.
- DBT individual therapy is focused on enhancing client motivation and helping clients to apply the skills to specific challenges and events in their lives. In the standard DBT model, individual therapy takes place once a week for as long as the client is in therapy and runs concurrently with skills groups.
- DBT phone coaching is focused on providing clients with in-the-moment coaching on how to use skills to effectively cope with difficult situations that arise in their everyday lives. Clients can call their individual therapist between sessions to receive coaching at the times when they need help the most.
- DBT therapist consultation team is intended to be therapy for the therapists and to support DBT providers in their work with people who often have severe, complex, difficult-to-treat disorders. The consultation team is designed to help therapists stay motivated and competent so they can provide the best treatment possible.
What skills are taught in DBT?
DBT includes four sets of behavioral skills.
- Mindfulness: the practice of being fully aware and present in this one moment
- Distress Tolerance: how to tolerate pain in difficult situations, accept painful things and emotions.
- Interpersonal Effectiveness: how to ask for what you want and say no while maintaining self-respect and relationships with others
- Emotion Regulation: how to regulate emotions and be able to label them
Video: Marsha Linehan Ph.D ABPP Developer of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
All of the clinicians at Minnetonka Counseling have been doing Dialectical Behavior Therapy for over 10 years. We have been intensively trained by Marsha Linehan (BTech)