Have you heard of Dialectical Behavior Therapy or DBT & wondered what it is? Our Registered Counsellor Nancy Kearnan explains it for us.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy Part One: What is it and who is it for?
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a type of therapy that was developed in the 1980’s by Marsha Linehan. It was originally developed for people who struggle with a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) but has since been proven to be effective for people who struggle with anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns.
DBT is based on the premise of dialectics and skills development. Dialectics is the idea that two seemingly opposing things can both be true at the same time.
For example: “I am doing the best that I can, but I can do better”. That is, right now I am doing the best I can, but if I learn more skills (etc.), I can do better”. This way of thinking is a “both, and” way of thinking rather than an “either, or” way of thinking. This is helpful for people who struggle with distorted thinking patterns such as black and white thinking, for example: “I didn’t get invited to the party so they must not like me”. If one were to think about that dialectically they would say: “I didn’t get invited to the party and people still like me”. This is helpful because it alters the negative thinking into something much more positive.
Being dialectical means:
- Letting go of self-righteous indignation
- Letting go of “black and white” (as above) or “all or nothing” ways of seeing a situation.
- Looking for what is “left out” of your understanding of a situation.
- Finding a way to validate the other person’s point of view.
- Expanding your way of seeing things.
- Getting “unstuck” from standoffs and conflicts.
- Being more flexible and approachable.
- Avoiding assumptions and blaming.
From this standpoint of dialectics, DBT then teaches 4 skills: Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotion Regulation, and Interpersonal Effectiveness. These skills will be discussed in the next article.
This is great stuff, Nancy! Looking forward to reading Part 2 🙂
Nancy would love to work with you.
She works with Adults, Kids 2 yrs & older and Youth 13+.
Nancy is a Registered Counsellor who is extremely experienced.
She does excellent work with:
– Grief and Loss
– Self Confidence
– Self Esteem
– Mental Health (Bipolar, OCD)
– Self harm
– Suicide Ideation
Cheers to more tools in our toolbox,