Dialectical Behavior Therapy: Exercises, Techniques, & Next Steps

DBT stands for Dialectical Behavior Therapy, which is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy. DBT aims to help individuals learn new skills to manage intense emotions, improve relationships, and reduce self-destructive behaviors. It combines traditional cognitive-behavioral techniques with mindfulness and validation strategies, and emphasizes the importance of balancing change and acceptance.


It was originally developed to treat borderline personality disorder.

Skills Worked On:

The primary focus of DBT is in teaching patients several key skills that can help them manage their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors more effectively. Some of the core skills developed in DBT therapy include:

  1. Mindfulness: A practice that involves paying attention to the present moment without judgment.
  2. Distress Tolerance: The patient develops strategies to help individuals tolerate and manage intense emotions without resorting to self-harm (or other harmful behaviors).
  3. Interpersonal Effectiveness: individuals learn techniques to communicate assertively, build and maintain healthy relationships, and manage conflicts.
  4. Emotion regulation: Strategies that help individuals identify and change negative patterns of thought and behavior(s) that contribute to intense emotions.
  5. Walking the Middle Path: Balancing acceptance and change. This helps individuals navigate difficult emotions and situations in a healthy and adaptive way.

These skills are taught through individual therapy sessions, group skills training, and homework assignments. The goal of DBT is to help individuals develop a more effective and fulfilling life by reducing emotional distress and improving relationships.

Finding a Dialectical Behavior Therapy Therapist

If you are looking for a therapist who specializes in DBT, here are a few pieces of advice that can help you in your search:

  1. Check with insurance providers: Start by checking with your insurance provider to see if they cover DBT therapy and which therapists are in-network.
  2. Look for a licensed therapist: It is important to find a licensed mental health professional who has received training in DBT and has experience using the treatment.
  3. Search online directories: Websites such as Psychology Today, GoodTherapy, and the International Society for Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT-ISFT) can be useful resources for finding a DBT therapist.
  4. Ask for referrals: You can also ask your primary care physician, a trusted friend, or a support group for referrals to DBT therapists.
  5. Evaluate credentials and experience: When you have a list of potential therapists, take the time to evaluate their credentials and experience. Look for therapists who have received specialized training in DBT, have experience working with patients who have similar issues to your own, and have positive patient reviews.
  6. Schedule an initial consultation: Once you have found a therapist you are interested in working with, schedule an initial consultation to determine if they are the right fit for you.

Remember, finding the right therapist takes time and effort, but it can be an important step in your journey towards improved mental health and well-being.…

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