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Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT)

What is Dialectical Behavioural Therapy?

Dialetical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive-behavioural treatment. It usually involves an individual therapy session and a skills group session every week for at least 6 months.

The skills group focuses on how to:

  • manage attention (mindfulness skills)
  • manage and cope with emotions (emotional regulation skills)
  • deal effectively with others (interpersonal skills)
  • tolerate emotional distress (distress tolerance skills)

What types of challenges are best suited for DBT?

DBT has been adapted for the youth population and is an evidence-based treatment. It is usually recommended for those who have tried less intense therapies and are still having challenges. 

DBT is especially effective for the following challenges and disorders:

  • borderline personality disorder
  • suicidal thinking or behaviour (suicide attempts)
  • self-injury and other self-destructive behaviours
  • anger and anger management
  • problems with emotions (such as intense sadness or recurrent fear)
  • impulsive behaviours that can be dangerous (such as reckless driving, recurrent unsafe sex, etc.)
  • difficulty building and maintaining healthy relationships
  • chronic feelings of emptiness
  • problems with substance use
  • eating disorders such as bingeing and purging

How long will it take?

This depends on the individual, but research shows that 6 months to a year of DBT treatment is most effective. 

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