Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) treatment was developed by psychologist Marsha Linehan in the late 1980s. It is a cognitive behavioural approach that emphasizes 4 sets of skills: mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness and emotional regulation. The skills are taught in sessions to help the person learn, apply and master them in her/his life. This empirically validated treatment has been shown to help clients reduce suicidal and self-harm behaviour, reduce frequency of hospitalizations, remain engaged in therapy and decrease substance use.

DBT encourages discussion and reasoning by dialogue as a method of intellectual questioning. The term “dialectical” means a synthesis or integration of opposites. DBT teaches clients strategies of acceptance and uses validation to heal the distance between these opposites, for example, love and hate, black and white and yin and yang. Dialectics represent the mind’s way of understanding concepts by understanding and appreciating their polar opposites.

ONtario Trauma Network