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What Is DBT?

DBT, short for Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, is a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that is designed to help individuals with mental health issues live healthier and happier lives.

This type of therapy uses an evidence-based approach to help people live in the moment, form coping mechanisms, improve relationships, and regulate emotions.

How Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Works

There are three forms of DBT, all of which involve talk therapy with a trained specialist.

  1. One-on-one – a therapist teaches behavioral skills and helps the patient adapt them to life’s everyday challenges.
  2. Group sessions – a professional-led group works in teams to role-play and complete assignments about handling troubling situations.
  3. Phone coaching – the patient can call their therapist in between sessions for guidance during difficult times.

Disorders DBT Can Treat

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy teaches skills to individuals that have trouble practicing them on their own. It was originally created to treat patients with BPD (bipolar disorder), and was later used to relieve symptoms of other disorders after it was found successful.

DBT is commonly used to also treat:

  • Eating disorders
  • Self harm issues
  • Depression
  • Substance abuse
  • ADHD
  • Anxiety disorders & OCD

The 6 Main Points of DBT

DBT was established on a six-point structure. Trained therapists use these points to help patients develop new thinking & behavioral skills

  1. Acceptance & change – accept circumstances to make positive changes.
  2. Behavioral – analyze problems and replace them with healthy patterns.
  3. Cognitive – focus on changing thoughts or actions that aren’t helpful.
  4. Skill sets – learn new skills and hobbies.
  5. Collaboration – work collaboratively & as a team with others
  6. Support – recognize your strengths and positive features to help others

What This Type of Therapy Is Used For

The six points should ultimately help DBT patients reach a state of overall peace. This can be achieved when they learn to practice mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotional regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.

Benefits of DBT

Basically, DBT can help in a variety of areas within your life. Here are just some of the small ways that this therapy can help benefit you in everyday situations:

  • Strengthen relationships
  • Balance emotions
  • Overcome restlessness
  • Develop distraction techniques
  • Soothe oneself
  • Work through conflict
  • Learn self respect
  • Ask for what you want
  • Recognize emotions

If you think developing these skills could help you live a happier life, it may be time to talk to your doctor about DBT.

Continuing Therapy With Treatment

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy can be effective for anyone regardless of race, gender, age, or any other demographics or biological factors. However, it may not be effective for everyone. It is proven most successful for individuals with any of the mental health difficulties listed above, or those who find themselves in difficult emotional patterns.

The first step to starting DBT is to find a qualified therapist. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is a very specific subtype of therapy and must be administered by someone who truly understands its foundation and benefits. Begin by doing research to find a therapist in your area, then look for sessions you’d be comfortable with. You may be offered a mix of individual and group therapy options, and whichever you choose is up to you.


To learn more about DBT or to find a provider near you, get a recommendation from your therapist or ask our team of skilled professionals here. With a specialized background in substance abuse and mental health disorders, we can help you establish the best next steps. Give us a call at 844-237-5762 to learn more.