4 Strategies for Resolving Problems with Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based treatment initially developed for individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder but has since been adapted for various mental health conditions. DBT focuses on teaching practical skills to help individuals manage their emotions, navigate interpersonal relationships, and develop healthier coping mechanisms. These skills can be applied in everyday life to resolve various problems involving personal conflicts, emotional distress, or decision-making. In this article, we explore four DBT skills that can be utilized to address and resolve problems effectively.


Mindfulness is a core component of DBT that emphasizes being fully present and aware of one's thoughts, emotions, and sensations without judgment. By cultivating mindfulness, individuals can develop greater self-awareness, enabling them to recognize the underlying issues contributing to a problem and respond more effectively.

To use mindfulness to resolve a problem, begin by taking a moment to pause and observe your thoughts and feelings about the situation. Pay attention to any physical sensations, emotions, or thought patterns that arise. This non-judgmental observation can help you identify unhelpful thoughts or emotions that may exacerbate the issue and provide insight into potential solutions.

Once you have developed a greater understanding of the problem through mindfulness, use this awareness to inform your decision-making process. Consider your options with a clear, focused mind, and weigh the pros and cons of each potential solution. You can make more informed and thoughtful choices by approaching the problem with mindfulness.

Emotion Regulation

Emotion regulation is a DBT skill that focuses on understanding and managing one's emotions healthily and adaptively. By learning to regulate emotions, individuals can prevent emotional reactions from escalating and causing further problems.

To use emotion regulation in problem-solving:

  1. Begin by identifying the emotions you are experiencing concerning the issue.
  2. Acknowledge these emotions without judgment, and consider how they may influence your perception of the problem.
  3. If intense emotions cloud your judgment, use self-soothing techniques, such as deep breathing or visualization, to help calm your emotional state.

Once you have achieved a calmer emotional state, assess the situation objectively and consider possible solutions. Remember that emotions can serve as valuable signals but should not dictate your decision-making process. By regulating your emotions, you can approach the problem with clarity and make more rational choices.

Distress Tolerance

Distress tolerance is a DBT skill that helps individuals build resilience and cope with challenging situations without resorting to unhealthy or destructive behaviors. By learning to tolerate distress, individuals can navigate problems more effectively and avoid exacerbating the situation.

To apply distress tolerance to problem-solving, first acknowledge the discomfort and distress associated with the situation. Remind yourself that it is natural to experience discomfort when facing a problem, and avoiding or suppressing these feelings may only prolong the issue.

Next, implement healthy coping strategies to manage the distress, such as engaging in self-care activities, seeking support from loved ones, or practicing mindfulness. By tolerating the distress, you can prevent it from overwhelming you and maintain the mental and emotional capacity to address the problem effectively.

Interpersonal Effectiveness

Interpersonal effectiveness is a DBT skill that builds and maintains healthy relationships through assertiveness, empathy, and effective communication. This skill can be beneficial when resolving problems that involve other people, such as conflicts or disagreements.

To use interpersonal effectiveness in problem-solving:

  1. Start by clarifying your goals and priorities in the situation.
  2. Consider the desired outcome and any potential consequences for the relationship.
  3. Strive for a balance between asserting your needs and respecting the needs of others.

Next, practice active listening and empathic communication to understand the other person's perspective. This understanding can foster a collaborative approach to resolving the problem and create a more open and supportive environment for problem-solving.

Finally, assert your needs and opinions respectfully, using clear and concise language. Be open to feedback and be willing to compromise when appropriate. By employing interpersonal effectiveness skills, you can work together to find a mutually satisfactory resolution and strengthen the relationship.

Final Thoughts

Dialectical Behavior Therapy offers valuable skills that can be applied to a wide range of problems and challenges in daily life. By harnessing the power of mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness, individuals can effectively address and resolve problems healthily and adaptively.

These DBT skills help individuals navigate difficult situations and contribute to their overall emotional well-being and personal growth. By incorporating these strategies into everyday life, individuals can develop greater resilience, stronger relationships, and a more balanced approach to problem-solving.

Grouport Offers Online DBT Skills Groups

If you're looking for an online group therapy session to practice dialectical behavior therapy, the Grouport DBT series by Grouport Therapy is the perfect solution. Our 12-week program equips participants with new skills to replace negative behaviors and emotions that can cause daily life and relationship issues.

Our group meets once a week at a scheduled time, and you'll receive access to session links via email after enrolling and paying for the program. By joining our DBT skills group, you can improve relationships, manage anxiety, and reduce emotional suffering, regaining hope for the future.

Don't hesitate to take the first step towards a better life. Our next session is waiting for you. Join our Grouport DBT series today and start improving your mental health alongside a supportive group of individuals.

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