The Four Key Points of Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical Behavior Therapy, or DBT, is well-known in the therapy world as a type of talk therapy that can be performed in in-person individual therapy, group therapy, and virtual (online) therapy, or even over the phone. DBT is actually based on another type of psychotherapy - Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), but was adapted specifically to treat people who suffer from extreme emotions. This type of therapy was developed in the late 1980’s by psychologist Marsh M. Lineham, primarily to treat individuals with BPD and chronic suicidal ideations. The goal of DBT is to help individuals struggling with negative mental health patterns to identify the root of those patterns, and to make positive changes to negative thinking for a better quality of life. 

If you’re enrolling in DBT group therapy, the purpose of your therapist-led sessions will be to lead you toward more positive, healthy ways to deal with stress and emotions in order to improve your emotional regulation over time. DBT can help you learn how to accept situations you cannot change, alter your thinking, increase your distress tolerance, and communicate better in your interpersonal relationships. While many people think DBT is comprised of 6 modules, DBT actually has 4 key points that work together toward an individual’s wellbeing: 

1. Mindfulness

Mindfulness helps those enrolled in DBT therapy to practice being present and fully aware in every moment. It helps patients not to step back too far, as thinking too much about the future can bring uncertainty, anxiety, and distress. Developing into a mindful individual helps with tolerance of overwhelming emotions and is based on the principle of peaceful acceptance of reality. Mindfulness helps you slow down and focus on positive things, no matter how negative your circumstances may appear.

2. Distress Tolerance

The concept of distress tolerance revolves around the idea that certain situations escalate our emotions to the point of distress, which makes it very difficult to stay in control. Learning mindfulness (acceptance) is the first step in distress tolerance, but others include: 

  1. Purposeful situational improvement
  2. Self-soothing techniques
  3. Evaluation of positives/negatives
  4. Healthy distraction 

This module also often includes the concept of radical acceptance, which is the idea that you are capable of embracing both high highs and low lows throughout your life. 

3. Interpersonal Effectiveness

After you master mindfulness through DBT, you’ll begin to learn how to better interact with those around you, especially those people or situations that create stress on a regular basis. This module helps you discover healthier communication techniques, and how to create space for yourself to build self-respect and to process and honor your emotions. 

4. Emotional Regulation

The final key point of DBT is emotional regulation, which is the most important. Using DBT in group therapy to learn how to control your emotions (especially depression, anxiety, frustration, anger, or fear) will bring greater peace and acceptance to your everyday life. 

Think you might benefit from DBT Therapy?

Don’t hesitate to reach out today! Our online DBT group therapy is an easy, affordable solution to many mental health conditions and could make a powerful difference in your future wellbeing. 


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