“The overall goal of DBT skills training is to help individuals change behavioral, emotional, thinking, and interpersonal patterns associated with problems in living.”
– Dr. Marsha Linehan, creator of Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a highly effective system of emotional change that emphasizes the regulation of feelings and behaviors. By learning and rehearsing new, more effective coping skills for managing emotions, our clients live more successful and productive lives.
DBT grew out of the cognitive behavioral therapy system (CBT), which argues that our emotions and behaviors are a direct result of what and how we think. If our thoughts are inaccurate or negative, our feelings will also be inaccurate and negative. DBT emphasizes the role of runaway emotions and emotional deregulation in sabotaging our relationships and life goals. Clients who are regularly overwhelmed and swept away by their thoughts and emotions may have difficulty implementing the skills and strategies of CBT.
Like cognitive therapy, DBT teaches strategies for problem-solving and how to implement more effective strategies in dealing with our relationships, our daily challenges, and our thoughts. However, DBT skills place greater emphasis on emotional control in the moment and how to keep your thoughts and emotions in check.