Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)
DBT, which stands for Dialectical Behavior Therapy, is regarded as the gold stand therapeutic approach, a treatment that has been scientifically developed and validated to assist individuals who are living with BPD. This therapy was developed by Marshal Linehan, who has lived and professional experience of BPD. DBT offers various benefits to individuals with BPD.
The objective of DBT is to assist individuals to:
- Understand and accept difficult, intense or challenging feelings
- Aquire the skills to efficiently handle these emotions
- Develop the capacbility to make constructive change
The term ‘Dialectical’ refer to understanding that two seeming contradictory statemnet can coexist as truth. For example, an individual accepting themself yourself and changing their behaviour might feel contradictory. But DBT teaches that it’s possible for you to achieve both these objectives together.
There are four key skills taught in DBT:
- Mindfulness: the practice of being fully aware and present in this one moment
- Distress Tolerance: how to tolerate pain in difficult situations, not change it
- Interpersonal Effectiveness: how to ask for what you want and say no while maintaining self-respect and relationships with others
- Emotion Regulation: how to change emotions that you want to change
DBT can teach the individual how to reframe a negative or unhelpful emotion, and give them the skills to effectively cope with these difficult and challenging emotions on a daily basis.
DBT plays a crucial role in validating individuals, enabling them to embrace their true selves without experiencing a sense of being misunderstood or having their emotions invalidated.
Given that individuals with BPD often possess heightened emotional sensitivity, collaborative validation in DBT ensures a delicate equilibrium between acceptance and personal growth.
Research has shown that DBT can be helpful in tackling challenging behaviours such as self-harming and suicidal ideation.
DBT treatment is usually broken down into individual therapy, group work, and telephone coaching.