What is DBT?


What is DBT?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy is an adaptive form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. CBT focuses on how thinking distortions can lead to emotionally charged reactions, and how to recognize those distortions and reframe them appropriately. DBT differs from CBT in that it is used to heighten an individual’s self-awareness, self-acceptance, and emotional regulation. It is also useful in identifying unhelpful behaviors and how changing those behaviors can positively influence an individual’s life. Both therapeutic approaches aim at helping the individual understand how thoughts, behaviors, emotions, and mood are interrelated.

What is DBT used for?

In the 1980’s DBT was first developed to help those diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, after realizing some patients didn’t respond as well as others to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.  Since then, DBT has been found to be highly effective in helping those who have struggle with intense emotional reactions and impulsive behaviors. DBT is used to treat a variety of mental health disorders and symptoms, some of which are specific to those who struggle with anxiety, depression, addiction, ADHD, bipolar, eating disorders, PTSD, suicidal/homicidal ideation, self-harm behaviors, sexual impulsivity, as well as many other mental, behavioral and personality disorders.

How does DBT work?

DBT teaches the individual how to rely on coping skills and mindfulness practices to mitigate life’s stressors. A few of these skills taught are mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and emotional regulation. These techniques focus on helping the individual accept themselves, feel safe, manage and regulate emotions that would otherwise be overwhelming, and develop healthy social relationships. The overall goal of DBT is to teach the individual how to be present in the moment, focus on their thoughts, feelings, sensations and impulses so they can stay calm and successfully adjust to life’s circumstances without crisis.

If you would like to get in started with individual or group DBT counseling, please reach out to Natalie Garritano at natalie@mywellnesspgh.com or 412-650-4321 ext 2.  Our next in person DBT group starts on May 15th.