Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of therapeutic treatment which combines cognitive-behavioral and mindfulness techniques. It was created in the 1980's by Marsha Linehan as a treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and it was the first treatment to be widely accepted as effective for individuals struggling with BPD symptoms. Since then however, it has been found to be effective in treating symptoms of disorders including :

  • Traumatic Brain Injuries
  • Mood Disorders
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Chemical Dependency
  • Eating Disorders

DBT combines cognitive-behavioral techniques to help people change unhealthy or unhelpful thoughts, feelings and behaviors such as:

  • Performing detailed analyses of unhealthy or unhelpful thoughts and behaviors that are the focus of treatment (chain analysis)
  • Specific skill training and homework (DBT Skills Training Classes)
  • Logging emotional states, skill use and behavioral urges and actions (diary cards)

with techniques largely derived from Buddhist meditative practices to help people accept feelings, behaviors and situations such as:

  • Skill training in developing self-awareness and insight (Mindfulness Skills)
  • Non-judgemental stance of the therapist and coaching to develop non-judgement for the participant (Radical Acceptance)
  • Skill training to develop abilities to regulate emotions where possible and to tolerate distress at times when emotions cannot or should not be minimized (Distress Tolerance and Emotion Regulation Skills).

This balance between Change and Acceptance represents one of the dialectics (or spectrums) that this work aims to explore and use to facilitate treatment.