Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

What is DBT?

We never learn what emotions are, why they exist, what to do with them, or what they mean to us on a personal level. In the 1980s, Dr. Marsha Linehan developed DBT to treat clients who were highly emotionally volatile and destructive. Over time, research showed that this approach is helpful for many different clients struggling with bipolar disorder, post-traumatic-stress disorder, depression, bulimia, binge-eating, and substance abuse. The main components of DBT are mindfulness, knowing how to tolerate and use strong, negative emotions, how to regulate and take charge of our emotions, and, more recently, how to integrate these skills in your relationships.

So, what does “dialectic” even mean?

According to Merriam-Webster, dialectic is defined as 1) discussing and reasoning by dialogue as a method of intellectual investigation and 2) a method of examining and discussing opposing ideas in order to find the truth. In short, dialectic is taking two opposite beliefs and letting them validly sit next to each other.

Sooo, how does this dialectic word relate to therapy?

Just like in Internal Family Systems, we often have a lot of contradicting feelings. These feelings can make us irritable, confused, stuck, or lost. Being able to be mindful of these opposing, all-or-none thoughts can bring understanding… with understanding comes the ability to show gentleness towards yourself as you navigate tolerating and regulating your emotions… then, all of this can come together to offer long-term improvements in your inner peace and interpersonal relationships.

For more information on DBT, click here.