What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a modified type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). DBT teaches us how to live in-the-moment, cope with stress effectively, regulate our emotions, and improve relationships with others.

DBT was originally created to treat Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) but has been shown to treat other mental health conditions. DBT is for everyone! It's basically a huge library of coping skills that make your life easier.

DBT is organized in four modules or sections: Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance and Emotional Regulation.


Mindfulness is all about living in the present, instead of the past or future. Having an awareness of what's happening around you and in you. Your body sensations, thoughts, emotions and feelings. It's also about accepting what is, not what should be, in a non-judgmental way. This includes loving and accepting yourself!

"At some point you just have to let go of what you thought should happen and live in what is happening."

Distress Tolerance

Everyone experiences stress in life. This can range from everyday stress to a full on crisis. Whether it's feeling stressed about work or dealing with a tough breakup, DBT has a skill for it. While stress is not ideal, it's a lot easier to deal with when you have a toolbox of skills to use to cope.

“Stress should be a powerful driving force, not an obstacle.”

Emotional Regulation

Regulating our emotions can be difficult, especially if you haven't been taught the skills to manage them. When feeling strong emotions, we tend to react instead of respond. DBT Emotional Regulation skills allow us to sit with emotions, process them and manage them. Being a sensitive person or having strong emotions isn't a weakness. They're part of our human experience!

“This might surprise you, but one of the best ways to manage your emotions is simply to experience that emotion and let it run its course.”

Interpersonal Effectiveness

Relationships can be wonderful, stressful and everything in between. DBT Interpersonal Effectiveness skills help us set boundaries, make requests, keep our self-respect and build/maintain positive relationships. Whether you need help with your relationship with a partner, friend, family or co-workers, these skills will help!

"The challenge that many people face when interacting with others is that they lack the necessary interpersonal skills needed to be effective."

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