Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a form of therapy that focuses on problem solving and acceptance-based strategies. This form of therapy was originally designed as a treatment for people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, but is now used to treat people who experience a vast range of mental health issues. DBT is made up of three major theoretical frameworks: (1) the behavioral science biosocial model of the development of chronic mental health issues, (2) the mindfulness practice of Zen Buddhism, and (3) the philosophy of dialectics.
In DBT four basic skill sets are taught: Emotion regulation, mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, and distress tolerance. DBT therapists implement a variety of techniques to encourage the transfer of learned skills across all settings (home, school, work, and in the community). This approach to therapy also often uses individualized behavioral treatment plans in order to facilitate the reduction of problematic behaviors that might negatively be impacting one’s quality of life.
The standard form of DBT consists of individual therapy, skills training group, phone coaching, and a therapist consultation team. Often DBT therapists will also develop behavioral skills through homework assignments. These assignments provide an opportunity to practice learned skills in one’s daily life. Phone coaching can also be used, as it allows people in treatment to reach their therapist for support when a challenging situation presents itself between sessions.
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