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DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy)

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DBT is the acronym for Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. Originally designed to treat chronically suicidal individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD), DBT skills are also used to optimize treatment modalities for other challenging conditions. For example, DBT therapy is often used to address teen eating disorders.

What Is DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy)?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a cognitive behavioral treatment originally developed by Marsha M. Linehan. Diagnosed herself with BPD, Linehan had deep insight into how to improve treatment services for this population. The goal of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is to help people identify and use their strengths in order to build self-esteem and positive feelings about life. Thus, DBT combines both cognitive and behavioral therapy techniques to further this goal.

By emphasizing individual psychotherapy and group training sessions, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy helps people learn and employ DBT skills, such as mindfulness, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance. Moreover, these skills help people identify the thoughts, beliefs, and assumptions that make life harder.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy can transform negative thinking patterns and destructive behaviors. Furthermore, DBT skills foster coping mechanisms that replace negative, rigid patterns of behavior with new ways of interacting and self-soothing.

Sources: Behavioral TechPsychiatry MMC US National Library of Medicine (NIH)

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