Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy.  Its main goals are to teach us to live in the present momemt, better cope with stress, regulate emotions, and improve relationships with others.  The theory behind DBT is that some people are prone to react in a more intense and out of the ordinary manner in certain emotional situations, primarily those found in romantic, family relationships and friendships.  Some people's emotional levels in such situations can increase far more quickly than the average person's, attain a higher level of emotional stimulation, and take a significant amount of time to return to baseline arousal levels.

DBT is derived from the philosophical process of dialectics  and is based on the principles of learning, and blends behavioral change oriented strategies with the concepts associated with acceptance and tolerance derived from Western contemplative and Eastern meditation practices.  While these two traditions are very different, in DBT they are synthesized and balanced "dialectically".  DBY emphasizes wholeness, self acceptance and change, and learning to live in the present moment.

DBT makes the following assumptions:

  1. Clients are doing the best they can.
  2. Clients want to improve but need to change, try harder, and be more motivated.
  3. Clients must learn new behaviors in order to live a fulfilling life.

While DBT started out as a treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder, it has also be successful in treating anxiety and deperssion.