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Dialectical Behavioural Therapy

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Treatment Approaches >> Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT)

Dialectival Behavioural Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) is a psychotherapy method that combines elements of behaviour therapy, cognitive therapy, motivational interviewing, client-centered, gestalt, paradoxical, and strategic approaches with Eastern philosophy and mindfulness meditation practices.

According to DBT theory, there is an interaction between clients’ emotional vulnerability and their invalidating environment.

Some of the underlying assumptions of DBT include that everything is connected to everything else and change is constant and inevitable. Others include that clients’ lives are unpleasant and potentially life threatening, clients are doing the best they can, they want to improve, need to do better, try harder, and be more motivated to change, and they have to solve the problems in their life even though they may not have caused them all.

The therapists, clients and families need to work as a team to best serve the clients.

The main components of DBT are: weekly skills training group, weekly individual therapy, between-session coaching, and team consultation.

In DBT, clients learn to identify the emotions, thoughts, sensations, behaviours, and urges linked to their problematic behaviours, all antecedents and precipitating factors.

They learn adaptive solutions to the behavioural problems. With DBT, clients gain knowledge of how to identify what they can change and accept what cannot be changed, which is why clients with addiction problems can benefit from learning DBT skills.

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