What is DBT

What is Dialectical Behaviour Therapy?

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is a treatment approach that was originally developed by Marsha Linehan to treat symptoms associated with Borderline Personality Disorder. It is a skills-based, person-centered, cognitive-behavioural approach to treatment that incorporates Zen philosophy and principles, such as mindfulness.

DBT strives to find balance between acceptance and change; that is, learning to accept painful experiences and emotions while at the same time working on ways to change and make life less painful. Ultimately, the goal of DBT is to help clients develop skills that will help them achieve their personal goals and create a meaningful life worth living.

More information about the various components of DBT treatment can be found at www.behaviortech.org

Common Issues DBT Can Treat:

DBT is an evidence-based approach that has been shown to be effective in treating issues related to:

How can DBT Help Me?

DBT focuses on the development of different skills and strategies that will allow clients to deal more effectively with painful or overwhelming emotions, to improve relationships, and reduce destructive or ineffective behaviours. There are four main categories of skills:

  • Mindfulness – become more aware of what is happening in the present moment, including thoughts, emotions, body sensations, and urges/impulses so that you stay in control.
  • Distress Tolerance – learn to tolerate painful or uncomfortable emotions, resist urges to act in unhelpful or ineffective ways, and reduce impulsive behaviours.
  • Emotion Regulation – change the way you respond to your emotions so that they don’t become overwhelming and/or cause you to make things worse.
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness – express yourself and ask for what you want and need from others in ways that help you maintain your relationships without compromising your self-respect.

How Quickly does DBT Work?

“Standard” DBT is a comprehensive treatment approach that involves a commitment to attend weekly skills training groups in addition to weekly individual therapy sessions over a period of 6-12 months. Not everyone requires this highly intensive level of treatment, however, and many clients may start to experience symptom relief after a much shorter period of time with therapy that is informed by DBT principles but not necessarily delivered in this standard format. Exactly how much therapy is required will vary depending on the severity and complexity of issues being addressed. Clients will have the opportunity to discuss this more fully with their therapist in the first few sessions.

Psychologists that Specialize in DBT

Karen Lemke has obtained extensive training and supervision in DBT and offers individual therapy that is informed by this treatment approach. 

The DBT-informed Emotion Regulation Skills Group is currently accepting referrals for the next group.