What is Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (often referred to as DBT) is a skills-based therapy initially developed to treat Borderline Personality Disorder. It has been adapted for other presentations including Eating Disorders, Depression, and Substance Use. It is also well suited to adolescent clients due to its focus on emotion regulation.

DBT aims to help clients build a life worth living by using skills to address problems in their lives

DBT is based on a biosocial theory proposing that emotional vulnerability and impulsivity are biological. Some people are more sensitive to emotions and experience them more intensely. When paired with an invalidating social environment that tells people their emotions are bad or wrong, or that ignores them, it makes it hard to regulate intense and frequent emotions.

There are four modules in the skills component of DBT: Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotion Regulation, and Interpersonal Effectiveness.

Try out the DBT distress tolerance skills below | TIP skills

TTip your Temperature with cold water or ice applied to the face or neck to calm down fast

IIntense exercise, use exercise to calm down your body when it is revved up by emotion by using your body’s stored up physical energy by running, walking, or jumping.

PPaced breathing, pace your breathing by slowing it down, breathe in for 5 seconds and out for 7 seconds. out more slowly than you breathe in (for example, 5 seconds in and 7 out)

PPaired muscle relaxation, while breathing in tense your body muscles, while breathing out, say the word “Relax” in your mind.

Abbey Lack & Rachel Dawson – Psychologists