Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is an innovative evidence-based therapeutic approach designed to address complex emotional and behavioural issues. It is based on cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) principles and holistic elements to help people transform inner turmoil into positive, constructive behaviour. It was developed in the 20th century to help people with borderline personality disorder and has since been used to treat trauma-based mental health conditions.

DBT integrates six key components: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, the middle path, and walking the talk. Together, they will assist you to understand and manage emotions, improve relationships, and lead more balanced lives. In simple words, you will learn new problem-solving skills. 

person meditating against a rising sun

How Does Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Work?

While CBT identifies negative emotions and shows how to manage them, DBT doesn’t identify those emotions as wrong. It teaches you to accept them as they are without any feelings of guilt. Here are six components that DBT that you’ll work on during therapy sessions: 

  1. Mindfulness: Encourages you to stay present and increases awareness of thoughts and feelings without judgement. In between sessions, your therapists will prescribe you mindfulness exercises like deep breathing and body scans to help regulate emotions and reduce impulsive behaviours.
  2. Distress Tolerance: Focuses on building resilience to negative emotions instead of avoiding them. Some techniques involved are self-soothing, distraction, and radical acceptance.
  3. Emotion Regulation: Teaches skills to manage and change intense emotions that cause problems. You’ll learn to identify and label emotions, learn to tolerate distress, and develop positive coping mechanisms.
  4. Interpersonal Effectiveness: Improves relationships through better communication and assertiveness skills. You’ll be able to build healthier relationships, reduce conflicts, and enhance their overall quality of life.
  5. Middle Path: Emphasises balance, accepting oneself as they are while also working towards personal growth. It encourages embracing the middle path, where acceptance and change coexist.
  6. Walking the Talk: You can only experience long-lasting benefits when you incorporate them in your day-to-day life. 

In the first few sessions, your online psychotherapist in Toronto will identify areas you need the most help with. It will be focused on helping you gain back control of your emotions and feelings. In the next sessions, you’ll discover who you are as a person, set personal growth goals, and find more joy in life.

What Can Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Help With?

DBT has guided people through complex emotions. Here are some mental health conditions it can help with: 

  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Chronic depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Substance abuse
  • Self-harm behaviours
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Emotional dysregulation
  • Interpersonal conflicts

I’m here to support your healing journey. Take the first step today.

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Jennifer Pinto
Registered social worker, MSW, RSW

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