Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical Behavior Therapy Program

Dialectical behavior therapy is a type of therapy to help people overcome self harming behaviors.

People who suffer from urges of self cutting, suicidal thoughts and other self-harm behaviors can go through dialectical behavior therapy. People who suffer from these types of behaviors usually have a disorder called borderline personality or BPD. It is also common for individuals suffering from BPD to also struggle with other mental health issues such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse problems. Dialectical behavior therapy is also being used to help treat binge eating problems and individuals that are having recurring depressant acts.

What Type Of Therapy Do Clients Receive in DBT?

There are three main parts of dialectical behavior therapy. The three different parts are individual therapy, skills group and phone coaching. Individual therapy is done on a weekly basis for typically an hour each time. While attending an individual therapy, the individual will also attend a weekly 2 hour skills group. The skills group helps teach the person a variety of important skills.

The skills they will learn are:

  • Mindfulness
  • Interpersonal effectiveness
  • Emotion Regulation
  • Distress Tolerance

On top of the individual therapy and skills group, the person will need to have a phone session with their therapist once a week. This is a session that couches the person on techniques and sources to help themselves before they want to hurt themselves again. The therapist will walk them through alternative behaviors to avoid self harm and suicidal behaviors. There can be some situations when the individual may also take medication to help with other mental health issues.

What Are The Five Core Criterion of Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

There are five core criterion of DBT that are essential part of the therapy process.

Expand and sustain the motivation the client possesses to transform
Provides opportunity for the client’s skills to be further developed
Assimilates the client’s new skill set to be applicable in relevant circumstances
Develops the therapist’s own abilities and increase the desire to effectively treat people
Provides a non judgmental and secure environment for the healing process.

What Are The Three Fundamentals of Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:

Many therapists don’t believe that their clients will benefit by many discussion. Therapists think that learning new behaviors is the best way for the individual to see progress. This is done through individual sessions, skills groups and phone coaching. The behaviors that are being focused on are referred to what the person thinks, feels or does. They will learn many different techniques to help the individuals thinking and having a “life worth living”.

Validation or Acceptance:

When the individual is suicidal or causing self harm to themselves, CBT may not be enough help. When the person is dealing with suicidal thoughts, they don’t want to hear the words keep going and that they can make it. It is validation and acceptance that they need. When the individual is telling the therapist why they did what they did, the therapist will want to find a reason why they did it and why it makes sense. The therapist isn’t trying to tell the individual that what they are doing is right but helping them understand there was reasons that caused it to happen.

There are different types of levels of validation. The most basic level to truly listening to what the person is saying. This means that the therapist needs be respectful and listen to what the individual is saying, feeling and doing. Another level of validation is to help the person regain the confidence by telling them it makes perfect sense and treating them as an equal.


Dialectics is a complex concept and involves assumptions about the nature of reality. It is important the individual to understand that everything is connected to everything else and that change is constant. The best example that a therapist can give to their client, is to tell the individual that if they are silent on a group session, it will somehow affect the other group members. All people are interconnected and influence each other in each moment they are together.