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What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)?

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a modified type of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Its main goals are to teach people how to live in the moment, develop healthy ways to cope with stress, regulate their emotions, improve their relationships with others, and ultimately build ‘a life worth living’. This approach to therapy helps people successfully improve their coping skills while helping them to learn effective ways to manage and express strong emotions. Researchers have also found that DBT is effective regardless of a person’s age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, and race/ethnicity. DBT can be performed in person, face to face, or virtually.

DBT is an evidence-based therapy utilized in many settings including group and individual therapy. Common coping skills taught are core mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and emotion regulation. Core mindfulness emphasizes living in the moment in a nonjudgmental way to slow down and learn to be more intentional. Distress tolerance techniques help individuals learn to cope with difficult and/or strong emotions. Interpersonal effectiveness helps individuals learn to become more assertive in a relationship while still maintaining healthy boundaries and strong connections. Individuals learn to listen and communicate more effectively, deal with challenging people, and respect themselves and others. Finally, emotional regulation skills help individuals to identify, name, and work on influencing change in difficult emotions.

Common Issues Treated With
Dialectical Behavior Therapy






Depression with