DBT is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy. It was developed in the 70’s by Marsha Linehan Ph.D., in the University of Washington. It was originally designed for people with chronic suicidal thoughts as a symptom of BPD. Linehan started by using CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) but she found that it wasn’t very suited for BPD patients. Marsha Linehan then analyzed the issues and made adaptations that proved to be suitable for BPD patients. Techniques based on acceptance were added to make sure patients felt validated and supported before they start focusing on change. DBT is based on the idea that opposites can exist side-by-side (dialectics), which means accepting situations as they are while analyzing various points of view in any situation and working on balancing an effort to change.This helps to stop the patterns of black and white thinking.
The goal of DBT is to help the patient build a life that they find worth living.
DBT includes individual psychotherapy and group therapy. Patients learn skills to deal with problematic behaviors. Problematic behaviors are a way of coping or an attempt to solve a problem. These behaviors offer temporary relief and they often don’t have a long-term effect. DBT assumes that patients are doing their best and that they need to learn new behaviors to deal with difficult situations. There are 4 modules of skills:
Image by diego_torres, courtesy of Pixabay.