Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) designed to help people suffering from mood disorders as well as those who need to change patterns of behavior that are not helpful, such as self harm or substance abuse. The therapist and client work together towards helping individuals recognize triggers and to assess which coping skills to apply to help avoid undesired responses. DBT assumes that people are doing their best but lack the skills needed to succeed. It can be used in a variety of circumstances including treatment for traumatic brain injuries, eating disorders, and mood disorders.
DBT often includes working on behavioral skills, including:
- Mindfulness: the practice of being fully aware and present in this one moment
- Distress Tolerance: how to tolerate pain in difficult situations
- Interpersonal Effectiveness: how to ask for what you want and say no while maintaining relationships
- Emotion Regulation: how to change emotions that you want to change
During DBT the therapist and client work to identify strengths and build on them so that the person can feel better about him/herself and their life, as well as helping to identify thoughts, beliefs, and assumptions that make life harder. DBT often includes completing homework assignments and role-playing new ways of interacting with others.