Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) was developed by Dr Marsha Linehan in the 1980s to help people dealing with more complex and longer term problems that don’t always respond to other therapies. Typical issues include suicidal thoughts and behaviours, self-harm, drug and alcohol problems, eating disorders, difficulties with a sense of self, or unhelpful relationship patterns. DBT uses cognitive and behavioural strategies to improve the regulation of emotions and the management of distress in adolescents and adults. It integrates Western and Eastern approaches and places an emphasis on acceptance and change.

DBT involves developing these acceptance and change-oriented skills:

  • Mindfulness: learning to focus your attention on the present moment, and to accept your thoughts, feelings, urges and senses without trying to change them.
  • Distress tolerance: learning how to cope in a crisis and accept things as they are.
  • Emotion regulation: learning to manage your emotions by letting you recognise, experience and accept them.
  • Interpersonal effectiveness: learning assertiveness strategies and improving relationships.

DBT helps you gain control over your negative behaviour, and your psychologist will  work with you to find new healthy behaviours to replace harmful ones. In DBT a strong and collaborative relationship with your therapist is important in supporting you to change your behaviour and reach your goals.

Here at myLife Psychologists many of our clinical psychologists are well trained in DBT and integrate it into their work. We don’t offer a comprehensive DBT program, and if this is what you require we can refer you to an appropriate service.

If you would like more information or to book an appointment with one of our clinical psychologists, contact us.