Dialectical Behavioural Therapy

Therapist Natalie Gillis Working With A DBT Client

What is DBT therapy?

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) was originally created to support people who have strong emotions or difficult relationships. Strong emotions can sometimes lead to behaviours, like self harm, or acting in ways that damage relationships and make it difficult to connect with others. DBT is a best practice in the treatment of borderline personality disorder. It has been used to treat a variety of other mental health conditions including drug abuse, eating disorders and PTSD. DBT is used to help you develop the skills to manage emotions and relationships better. In DBT, you learn how to be more present in your daily life and able to tolerate distressing situations.

What to expect in an DBT session?

DBT is often used in trauma therapy to develop the skills of self-regulation. You will also learn how to be with your distress without engaging in undesired behaviours. DBT teaching focuses on communication, mindfulness, and grounding skills. It also offers a more balanced way of thinking and making decisions. 

A DBT therapist will guide you through the process of skill development particularly in these four core areas of functioning: mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotional regulation & distress tolerance. DBT therapy sessions may include homework such as diary cards and behavioural chain analysis. These processes will help you observe the sequence of events that unfolds before a behaviour even occurs.

What are the benefits of DBT therapy?

DBT is a proven treatment that reduces high risk behaviours such as self harm and suicide. With the development of learned skills and self-acceptance, DBT can  help you function better in your life. Some of the benefits of DBT include a reduction in the impact of distressing symptoms, improve mood and increase feelings of self-esteem and self-worth. Some people benefit from the structure of a DBT program which includes homework and regular follow ups with a therapist to review progress. 

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