Dialectical Behavioral Therapy or DBT is a psychosocial therapeutic method which leverages support-oriented treatment to identify the thoughts, beliefs, and assumptions that make life unmanageable for the individual.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy was invented by Marsha Linehan, a psychologist in the 1980’s, who needed an effective therapeutic method to address borderline personality disorder.  

Linehan found that some individuals react to a ‘normal’ emotional situation in an intense or out-of-the-ordinary fashion; they experienced increased arousal levels quicker than normal, their emotional stimulation reached higher levels than normal, and it took these individuals longer to return to their base emotional level than normal.

Dialectical most commonly means a cohesion of opposites. The ‘dialectical’ in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy focuses on the seemingly opposing application of acceptance and change.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy operates on four modules. The most common structure of a DBT session is:

  • Problem solving between therapist and client (addressing self-injurious and suicidal behaviors, behaviors that interfere with therapy, quality of life issues, and PTSD)
  • Role playing
  • Take home assignments
  • Integration of group DBT therapy

The four modules of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy are as follows:

  1. Mindfulness: Developing ‘what’ skills (observe, describe, participate) and ‘how’ skills (Non-judgmentally, one-mindfully, effectively)
  2. Interpersonal Effectiveness: placing focus on change and resist pleasing behaviors by asking for what he or she needs, saying ‘no’, and coping with inner turmoil
  3. Distress Tolerance: This is the module during which individuals learn how to bear pain with skill and tolerate crises by use of distraction, self-soothing, improving the moment, and developing pros and cons; accepting the present by use of radical acceptance, mindful acceptance, and willingness verse willfulness
  4. Emotion Regulation: In this module, clients learn to identify their emotions and obstacles, reduce emotional vulnerability, increase positive emotions and mindfulness to those emotions, take opposite action, and applying the above distress techniques.

At New Method Wellness, we implement Dialectical Behavioral Therapy as a therapeutic solution to assist our clients with the initial stages of accepting the recovery journey and mindfully taking the next steps towards a healthy lifestyle.