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Dialectical behavior therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a form of psychotherapy that integrates cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness practices to help people manage their emotions, interpersonal relationships, and stress. The goal of DBT is to help individuals become emotionally balanced, more self-accepting, and better able to cope with difficult situations in healthy ways. This type of therapy is especially helpful for those with intense or unmanageable emotions that interfere with relationships or daily life.

How dialectical behavior therapy works

“Dialectical” refers to the balance between change and acceptance. This type of therapy helps people learn to accept their feelings, thoughts, and behaviors while also helping them to identify ways they can make positive changes in their lives.

DBT is a combination of cognitive-behavioral techniques and mindfulness practices. Cognitive-behavioral therapy involves looking at the relationship between our thoughts and emotions. Mindfulness involves being aware of thoughts, feelings, body sensations, environment, and actions in the present moment without judgment or criticism. This allows you to slow down and really focus in on using healthy skills that help when you are in emotional pain.

With DBT, individuals learn to practice being mindful and accepting of their present reality while also working towards making positive changes.

What to expect during a dialectical behavior therapy session

During your DBT sessions, your therapist may focus on the following skills:

  • Your provider will teach you ways to stay in the moment by learning to observe experiences without judging them. Understanding and practicing mindfulness sets the stage to be able to use newly learned skills effectively.

This skill emphasizes the importance of accepting current situations and emotions, rather than trying to change them immediately. Your Geode therapist can then work with you on practical coping mechanisms to employ in real-world scenarios to ease emotional pain and discomfort.

You’ll practice how to understand, accept, and manage your own emotions. The goal here is not to bury your emotions, but to recognize and own your feelings without being controlled by them.

Your Geode therapist will coach you to communicate and interact more effectively with that you can maintain healthy, positive relationships.

Benefits of DBT

DBT is beneficial for those who have difficulty regulating and developing skills for constructively managing distress. Some of the many benefits of DBT include:

  • Becoming more self-aware and self-accepting

  • Learning to manage difficult, intense emotions

  • Improving communication skills

  • Learning effective coping strategies

  • Improving interpersonal relationships

  • Reducing negative thought patterns and behaviors

  • Developing better problem-solving skills

  • Increasing motivation and focus

  • Overall improved mental health

By learning the skills taught in DBT, individuals can gain a greater sense of control over their emotions, relationships, and lives.

Conditions DBT can help treat

DBT has been found to be an effective treatment for a number of mental health conditions, including:

  • Depression
  • Borderline Personality Disorder

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Trauma

  • Self-harm

  • Substance Abuse and Addiction

  • Eating Disorders

  • Bipolar Disorder

  • Anxiety Disorders


Find a dialectical behavior therapist online or near you

If you think Dialectical Behavior Therapy may be right for you or someone you know, it’s important to find a qualified therapist who is experienced in this type of therapy. This will help ensure that you get the most out of your sessions and can benefit from this form of treatment. Find a Geode location near you or book a telehealth appointment with a DBT therapist today.

If you are in crisis and in need of immediate support

Please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988 or text the Crisis Text Line by texting HELLO to 741741