Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is an evidence based treatment that focuses on learning effective skills to manage life’s stressors and relationships more effectively. DBT was developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan and has been demonstrated to be highly effective in working with those struggling with impulsivity, instability of emotions, having patterns of unhealthy relationships, and even self harm and suicidality. I have found that DBT is also highly effective for all individuals dealing with depression, anxiety, self esteem, and relationship problems. I believe that DBT skills are life skills, and can benefit everyone.
So what does “dialectical” mean? A dialectic is a synthesis or integration of opposites. In DBT, dialectical strategies help both the therapist and the client get unstuck from extreme positions. And DBT is built on four foundational skillset modules:
Mindfulness: Having awareness of what is going on within you and outside of you, now, in this present moment. Responding to what is needed in this moment, rather than reacting impulsively.
Distress Tolerance: How to tolerate pain in difficult situations when you are unable to solve a problem and not make it worse.
Emotion Regulation: How to understand your emotions, and how to manage their intensity.
Interpersonal Effectiveness: How to ask for what you want and say no while maintaining self-respect and relationships with others.
I am a big believer in the effectiveness of this therapy. In my practice, I use DBT as the core framework, however I then build from each of the modules and incorporate several other interventions and philosophies, tailoring to each client’s unique needs. I bring in research and practices in the areas of Lifestyle Medicine, mindfulness, Buddhist leaning philosophies, and integrate psychoeducation on the role of nutrition and physical activity in emotional wellbeing. I find that supplementing therapy with articles, videos, books, and podcasts that are easily digestible and fit into your busy life helps support our work together.