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Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a therapy designed to help people change patterns of behavior that are not helpful, such as self-harm, suicidal thinking, and substance abuse. This approach works towards helping people increase their emotional and cognitive regulation by learning about the triggers that lead to reactive states and helping to assess which coping skills to apply in the sequence of events, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to help avoid undesired reactions. DBT assumes that people are doing the best they can but are either lacking the skills or influenced by positive or negative reinforcement that interfere with their ability to function appropriately.

DBT is a modified form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that was developed in late 1970s by Marsha M. Linehan. DBT is now used in a variety of psychological treatments including treatment for traumatic brain injuries (TBI), eating disorders, mood disorders, trauma, and substance use disorder.

DBT combines standard cognitive behavioral techniques for emotion regulation and reality-testing with four sets of behavioral skills: Mindfulness: the practice of being fully aware and present in this one moment, Distress Tolerance: how to tolerate pain in difficult situations, not change it, Interpersonal Effectiveness: how to ask for what you want and say no while maintaining self-respect and relationships with others, Emotion Regulation: how to change emotions that you want to change