Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), founded by Marsha Linehan, is a modified type of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), originally intended to treat the previously "untreatable" Borderline Personality Disorder.
It has since been shown to help people who have difficulty with emotional regulation, disordered eating, anxiety, depression, and those have a history of trauma, suicidal ideation, or urges to self-harm. Through its continued practice in the field, DBT has shown to be effective in helping individuals of all ages regulate their emotions and maintain healthy relationships.
DBT skills groups provide a learning environment where skills from the four modules are taught and implemented. These modules are Emotion Regulation, Distress Tolerance, Interpersonal Effectiveness, and Mindfulness.
A dialectical worldview considers reality as continuous, dynamic, and holistic. It recognizes the tension that is often present between positive & negative, and good and bad. Understanding that contradictory truths do not always cancel one another out. Acceptance & change, flexibility & stability, nurturing & challenging, and strengths & deficits can all coexist.
A “dialectic” or “dialectical thinking” refers to the idea that two or more things can be true at the same time. We can often get caught up in the rigidity of black and white thinking; “It’s either this or that.” However, Linehan emphasizes the beauty of how multiple thought processes and feelings can, and typically DO, exist simultaneously, throughout the human experience. This can be especially so with conflicting or opposing perspectives.
It provides the green light, giving ourselves permission to feel the entirety of an experience, as authentically and whole as possible.
So, how do we indulge in this type of helpful, realistic way of thinking? We practice embracing the use of “and,” and not “but,” when exploring our experience.
“Breaking up with my ex-partner was hard AND I feel a sense of freedom now.”
“My parents did the best they could AND I still have grief related to my childhood.”
“I feel happy AND sad about the holidays.”
“This is difficult to accept AND I’m aware that I cannot change it.”
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