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Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

“Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength”

DBT: Famous Quote


I came to Dialectical Behavior Therapy in the late 1980s. At the time, it was only used in hospitals, but I found it helpful in communicating and helping many of the mothers I worked with whose children were placed in foster care.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy was originally developed by Marsha Linehan to treat individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder who also demonstrated chronic suicidality and parasuicidal behaviors.

DBT is now considered an evidence-based therapy for not only BPD, but multiple other mental health issues such as substance abuse, mood disorders, and disordered eating.  

Schema therapy (ST) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) have their roots in cognitive behavioral therapy. The aim of DBT is to help you with any emotion dysregulation.

What is an emotion dysregulation problem?

Have you ever felt like your emotions were out of control? Have you ever felt that you overreacted and regrated your response to an issue or argument with someone you care about? Or have you felt that just thinking about the sad event or the argument created all the same emotions in your body as to when you had them, and you want to call the person and argue some more? 

It may seem like you cannot regulate your emotions. You may have thoughts and the thoughts may create a physiological response, that is, your heart rate starts to beat faster, and you start to feel hot and flushed.  At times, you feel like you just need to retreat, that you do not want to speak to anyone, you would prefer to isolate and avoid human contact. Yet, other times, you want to have it out with someone, and it can continue with no end in sight. 

In Schema Therapy we see emotion dysregulation as related to trauma, or adverse early childhood experiences (attachment issues, child abuse, and neglect). These experiences may have led to unprocessed traumas, fear, and avoidance of emotions, and an inability to manage emotions, to regulate them. In Schema Therapy we will process these traumas, in our relationship together we will address emotional avoidance and dysregulation and use experiential techniques to address dysregulation.

However, in DBT, all the four modules, mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, focus on improving emotion regulation skills and encourages you to practice these skills on a regular basis.  If needed, I will sometimes integrate these strategies in the Schema Therapy work we are doing together.

There are many resources available online, I use many of these resources and most recently I have been using 

DBT : Dialectical Behavior Therapy - Skills, Worksheets, & Videos

DBT: Text
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