DBT: Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

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What is DBT and How Does it Work?

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy or DBT works by teaching clients how to experience emotions without reacting to them impulsively. It is focused on improving acceptance and balanced emotional responses. It does this, in part by teaching emotional regulation. DBT is unique in that it employs the idea of bringing together opposite forces together in the mind to foster understanding. Dialectical means trying to understand how two things that seem opposite one another could be true. For example, it focuses on both acceptance and change. Both can be positives, yet they are seemingly opposite one another. DBT has been shown to be particularly effective in clients with more difficult to treat conditions like borderline personality disorder (BPD).  


The DBT approach helps by:

  • Teaching clients how to understand and accept difficult feelings
  • Empowering clients to face difficult emotions and overcome negative responses.
  • Help clients learn skills that enable them to make positive changes in their lives

Why DBT is Useful in Treatment

Treatment in a dialectical behavior therapy program will involve working closely with a therapist. It will also include participating in group sessions to learn new ways to interact with other people. Some of the goals of this type of treatment are to teach you that everything is connected in your life and that you can change thoughts in your life that are not productive or helpful.


In a dialectical behavior therapy program, you may learn:

  • New ways to accept circumstances and accept responsibility for mistakes.
  • How to recognize your own skills and strengths and leverage them.
  • To improve relationships with others utilizing role-playing behavior.
  • To uncover destructive patterns or thoughts and replace these with healthier ones.


The DBT approach to changing your thoughts and behavior helps you become better at handling stress and emotionally challenging circumstances. This form of treatment naturally fosters understanding and empathy because it forces us to look at both sides of any given situation. It can make me people not only better at managing their emotions but also more objective in the way they observe situations and how they react to them. It’s easy to understand how learning to better manage emotions and improving our objectivity would be helpful in both a treatment and recovery setting.

Benefits of Dialectical Behavior Therapy

A focus of DBT is teaching clients skills that empower them to maintain a better emotional balance. DBT promotes more positive self-esteem, as well as a greater ability to identify and isolate negative emotions. Perhaps the biggest benefit is learning how to gain control over impulses that interfere with one’s mental functioning. Impulse control and emotional sobriety are essential for good mental health, so DBT can be helpful for nearly any mental health condition provided the client is receptive to the technique and participates.


The strength of the cognitive and behavioral skills learned can lead to improvements in a client’s overall mental health, even in people without a formal diagnosis. The skills learned in therapy can help a client to lead a more productive and fulfilling life, which could lead to improved mental functioning. Another benefit of DBT is that clients learn self-awareness, which helps them understand their patterns of behavior and develop long-term solutions for their problems. The primary goal of DBT is to teach skills for regulating emotions, thinking, and behaviors in a healthy manner.


The main types of treatment in DBT are:

  • Individual therapy
  • Group skills training classes
  • Telephone coaching sessions with a therapist
  • Videotaping key moments for a better understanding of our behaviors

DBT at TruHealing Centers

At TruHealing Centers, we use dialectical behavior therapy to help people learn to manage their emotions, develop self-awareness, and improve relationships. DBT was originally developed to treat people struggling with borderline personality disorder who were not emotionally ready for cognitive behavioral therapy. However, this approach is useful for clients with a variety of complex mental health problems.

This type of therapy is also proven especially helpful for people who don’t respond well to medication and other treatment modalities. DBT has benefited countless individuals experiencing chronic mental health issues, including addiction as well as self-harm and eating disorders. In the dialectical behavior therapy program at TruHealing Centers, you can expect a broad range of treatment approaches that work in concert with DBT, including:

  • Family therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Community reinforcement therapy
  • Contingency management program
  • Motivational enhancement therapy
  • Support groups

TruHealing Centers: A Trusted Partner

TruHealing Centers is dedicated to helping people living with mental health disorders. We are also proactive in supplying information and resources to people with mental illness and their families. TruHealing Centers believes that education is an essential part of the solution. Our mission is to help people recover from mental illness, find and help foster long-term recovery. TruHealing Centers is more than a healthcare provider. We’re a partner for recovery. We are ready to give you or your loved one everything they need for successful recovery. All that’s needed to begin is enough willingness to try


You Don’t Have To Go It Alone

If you or a loved one would like more information on dual diagnosis treatment, Truhealing Addiction Services can help! Contact us today to discuss your treatment options with an addiction treatment specialist. 

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