What is Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behaviour therapy is an effective counselling approach that is predominately used to help those experiencing intense emotions. Intense emotions are often observed in people with borderline personality disorder, anxiety, depression, trauma, and OCD. Dialectical behaviour therapy helps individuals move away from harmful thoughts and behaviours by working on accepting their emotions and finding more effective coping mechanisms. DBT also involves working towards relating better to other people through various skills courses and deep breathing exercises called mindfulness

Counselling with DBT

Dialectical behaviour therapy, also known as DBT, is a derivative from another approach to counselling called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which similarly works by challenging an individual’s cognitive distortions in order to mitigate their symptoms. DBT is derived from this approach through a technique called dialectic, which observes that something can be both true and false at the same time and aims to incorporate this paradox into the therapy.

It is a type of talk therapy that helps people with mental health problems manage their emotions and behaviour by encouraging the acceptance of present situations, feelings and experiences.


Mindfulness is the practice of being present, in the moment and open to all experiences without judgment.

Distress Tolerance

Distress tolerance is the maximum capacity at which a person can bear and accept negative emotion without distress.

Emotional Regulation

Emotional regulation is the ability to understand, accept, regulate and communicate emotions openly and effectively.

Interpersonal Effectiveness

A set of skills that allow one to communicate more effectively with others in a way that promotes self-respect and better relationships.

Concerns That Can Improve with Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)

Because dialectical behaviour therapy was designed to help individuals manage their mental illnesses by coping with its underlying cognitive distortions through mindfulness, this approach is generally employed to treat disorders arising from harmful and irrational beliefs. Here are some examples of what DBT is typically used to treat:

Borderline Personality

DBT is most often used for treating BPD by helping individuals accept their feelings and develop healthy ways of processing them.


DBT is a proven evidence-based program that teaches you the skills to manage the feelings of depression through mindfulness and acceptance.


DBT can be used to help people with anxiety refocus their mind away from the unhelpful thoughts and towards the present.


Therapists often use DBT alongside CBT and EMDR in order to help those with trauma heal from the traumatic experiences.

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