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Dialectical Behavioral Therapy: A Path to Emotional Balance, Meaning, & Thriving Relationships

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What is DBT?Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a specialized form of therapeutic intervention designed to help individuals who struggle with intense emotions, difficulty with impulse control, mood swings, self-destructive behaviors, and difficulties in interpersonal relationships. This evidence-based approach combines elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) with mindfulness practices to provide a comprehensive and effective treatment for various emotional and behavioral challenges.

DBT is founded on the philosophical principles of Dialectics, which refers to the integration of seemingly opposing perspectives to promote balance and growth. It emphasizes finding a middle ground between acceptance and change while acknowledging that both are essential for progress. Dialectics encourages individuals to validate their experiences and emotions while also recognizing the need for personal growth and behavioral adjustment. It fosters a non-judgmental approach, where individuals learn to hold multiple truths simultaneously and find constructive solutions to complex problems. Through Dialectics, DBT seeks to teach coping skills aimed at improving emotional regulation, self-awareness, and communication. The focus is on four core skill sets:

  • Emotion Regulation: DBT teaches strategies to identify and manage emotions in healthier ways, reducing impulsive and destructive reactions.

  • Mindfulness: Mindfulness techniques are taught to enhance self-awareness, reduce judgment, regulate the physiological impact of intense emotional experience, and foster being present in the moment.

  • Interpersonal Effectiveness: Communication skills, assertiveness, and boundary-setting techniques are developed to improve relationships and navigate conflicts more effectively.

  • Distress Tolerance: Coping skills are taught to survive stressful situations without resorting to harmful behaviors.

How Does DBT Work?

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DBT can be conducted in both individual and group therapy formats. At Boundless, we specifically offer a DBT Skills for Emotional Mastery


How is DBT group therapy different from traditional group therapy?

  • Skills-Based Approach: DBT groups focus on teaching specific skills to cope with emotional challenges, while standard group therapy, known as an open-process group, might emphasize exploration and expression of emotions without the structured skill-building component.

  • Dialectical Approach: DBT incorporates dialectics, which means finding a balance between acceptance and change. This allows participants to accept themselves while still working towards positive change. Regular group therapy may not explicitly emphasize this balance.

  • Mind-Body Connectivity: Each DBT group session begins with a mindfulness practice that is meant to engage both your body and mind

  • Experiential Learning: Both DBT and open-process group therapy involve collaborative discussions, but in DBT groups, the focus is on applying specific skills to real-life situations and social learning

If you are interested in joining our DBT group, please click here to fill out a consultation request form.

Who Benefits From DBT?

DBT is beneficial for a wide range of individuals who may be experiencing various emotional and behavioral challenges. It was originally developed to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD), but over time, its effectiveness has been demonstrated for several other conditions and difficulties. DBT is particularly helpful for people who struggle with:

  • Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD): DBT is considered the gold standard treatment for individuals diagnosed with BPD. It helps them regulate intense emotions, improve self-esteem, and manage impulsive behaviors.

  • Mood Disorders: DBT can be effective for individuals dealing with depression, bipolar disorder, and other mood-related issues. It teaches emotion regulation skills and mindfulness techniques to help manage mood fluctuations.

  • Self-Harming or Suicidal Behaviors: For those who engage in self-harm or have suicidal tendencies, DBT offers strategies to reduce self-destructive behaviors and develop healthier coping mechanisms.

  • Substance Use Disorders: DBT can be incorporated into the treatment of substance abuse issues by helping individuals cope with triggers, cravings, and develop skills to manage stress without turning to substances.

  • Eating Disorders: DBT skills can complement the treatment of eating disorders by addressing emotional dysregulation and providing tools for healthier coping with difficult emotions.

  • Anxiety Disorders: People struggling with anxiety can benefit from DBT's focus on mindfulness and distress tolerance skills to manage anxious thoughts and feelings.

  • Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): DBT can be helpful for individuals who have experienced trauma by assisting in processing emotions, managing distress, and enhancing self-compassion.

  • Difficulties in Interpersonal Relationships: DBT's emphasis on interpersonal effectiveness skills can benefit those who struggle with forming and maintaining healthy relationships.

  • Anger Management Issues: DBT helps individuals understand and regulate their anger, leading to more constructive responses in challenging situations.

  • General Emotional Dysregulation: Even for individuals without a specific diagnosis, DBT can provide valuable skills to improve emotional regulation and overall well-being.

If you identify with any of these experiences or symptoms, we are here to help. The structured and skills-based nature of DBT makes it a versatile approach for addressing a wide range of needs. Reach out to the Boundless team today to see if our DBT group is the right fit for you!


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