What is DBT Therapy Good For?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy, which is also known as DBT Therapy or just DBT, is a subtype of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) developed by Marsha Linehan in the 1980s with the goal of treating people living with Borderline Personality Disorder, or BPD.

A hallmark symptom of BPD is the presence of extremely intense, negative emotions that are difficult to manage. These tough emotions have a ripple effect in a person’s life, with the potential to strain their relationships with friends, family, and acquaintances. Without mitigation and treatment of these symptoms, the damage can be irreparable and long-term.

In the years since Linehan first saw success in treating BPD patients using DBT, mental health professionals have adapted DBT protocols to treat a variety of other mental ailments, including:

  • Disordered eating
  • Substance abuse
  • Mood disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Depression

Professionals who employ DBT will teach their clients how to sharpen their skills in four major areas:

1. Interpersonal effectiveness: Equips individuals with techniques that can help them better communicate with the people around them in ways that strengthen their relationships, make them more assertive, and help them maintain their self respect.

2. Emotion regulation: Teaches individuals strategies that can help manage and potentially even alter intense emotions that are causing issues in their lives. 

3. Mindfulness: Zeros in on helping individuals accept and remain present in the moment at hand.

4. Distress tolerance: Helps increase tolerance of negative emotions (instead of reacting intensely or trying to escape them).

Experts have found that all of these DBT skill types can potentially help people better communicate with others, regulate their emotions, navigate distress, remain present in the current moment, and tolerate negative emotions. On the whole, DBT encourages clients to hold a both-and as opposed to an either-or approach to life and all of its complexities, which creates more balance and supports long-term mental health and wellbeing

If you are interested in DBT, you can join a DBT skills group as well as complementary one on one therapy sessions. Most DBT therapy groups are led by at least one trained therapist who teaches you and your other group members the various DBT skills and leads exercises related to practicing these skills.

A typical DBT skills group meeting lasts between one and two hours, and meets weekly for about six months. In your DBT group, you will work with your fellow group members to learn and practice DBT skills. Learning DBT in a group setting is encouraged as it allows members to provide mutual support for one another and practice DBT skills with each other.

The one on one, complementary therapy sessions you may opt to enroll in alongside your DBT skills group will involve you speaking with a therapist to make sure all of your therapeutic needs are being adequately met. Furthermore, your therapist can help you further integrate and utilize the DBT skills you are learning in your day to day life, and help you stay motivated.

Here at Grouport, we offer group therapy sessions that are conducted online, over Zoom calls. Our therapists specialize in a range of mental health issues and other common struggles. Many of our therapists are experts in DBT and can help you learn and utilize DBT skills in DBT group therapy. You can find answers to other online group therapy FAQs or check out our DBT groups today!

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