What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)? This type of treatment provides clients with new skills in order to manage painful emotions. These skills also decrease conflict in relationships. Our counselors at Waters Edge are trained in DBT and have found it incredibly successful with many of our clients.

When is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) used?

DBT was initially developed to treat borderline personality disorder. However, studies show that DBT has also been used with success to treat depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, bulimia, binge-eating, and bipolar disorder.

DBT skills help clients who want to better their ability to regulate emotions. These clients usually also improve how they tolerate distress and negative emotion. DBT gives clients the tools to be mindful and present in the given moment, and communicate effectively with friends, family and coworkers.

Therapists using DBT

What are the four skills that DBT teaches?

DBT specifically focuses on providing skills in four key areas.


Mindfulness focuses on improving a client’s ability to welcome and be present in the moment.

Distress Tolerance

This skill concentrates on increasing an individual’s tolerance of negative emotion, instead than trying to escape from it

Emotion Regulation

Emotion Regulation is geared towards covering strategies to manage and change intense emotions that are causing problems in a person’s life.

Client after successful DBT treatment

What can you expect in DBT and how does it work?

DBT works in individual or group settings. Individual therapy sessions usually consist of one-on-one contact with a trained counselor making sure that all therapeutic needs are being addressed. The individual therapist helps the patient stay motivated, and apply the DBT skills within their daily lives. They also help them address difficulties that might arise over the course of treatment.

Within a group setting, DBT participants learn and practice tools alongside others. Our counselors encourage members of the group to share their experiences. This provides mutual support. Groups are led by one trained therapist who teaches skills and leading exercises.

The group members are assigned homework. An example would be practicing mindfulness exercises. Typically, each group session lasts approximately two hours, and groups meet weekly for six months.

The groups can meet on a shorter or longer basis, depending on the needs of the members. DBT can be delivered by therapists in many ways, and WEC takes each individual’s needs into account in order to determine the treatment.

Reach out to us today!

If you think you or someone you care about could benefit from DBT, please give us a call! Our counselors are here to help and are trained in everything from depression treatment to anxiety treatment to substance abuse and marriage counseling. Check out our services here, and call us or email today to make an appointment. Our team is here for you.