Dialectical Behaviour

Recovery is possible

What is Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) is a type of psychotherapist developed in the late 1980s by Psychologist Marsha Linehan.  The DBT theory proposes that certain people can experience an escalation in their emotional state far quicker than the average person and it takes a great deal of time to return to a base level. Sometimes these emotional surges can feel confusing and overwhelming. If a person grew up in a family where their experience was invalidated, then they may lack the coping strategies needed to learn how to re-regulate.

DBT focuses on four modules:

  • Emotional Regulation
  • Distress Tolerance
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness
  • Mindfulness

DBT offers skills to help people learn to regulate their emotions in a healthier way by learning to identify and label their emotions, practicing radical acceptance and taking the opposite action.

Individuals are invited to practice the skill of distress tolerance.  This refers to rather than trying to change the situation one can learn to tolerate the distress of the present moment. For example, a person in addiction recovery can learn to allow a craving for the substance to pass without acting on it and using again.

Another component of DBT is how to manage one’s interpersonal effectiveness within relationships. Skills are taught of how to attend to relationships with such topics as how to build one’s own self-respect, learn to practice active listening, and act assertively. By learning how to actively ask for one’s own needs and being aware of other’s needs interpersonal conflict has a chance to reduce and trust build.

DBT also focuses on learning how to practice mindfulness.  Clients are taught the importance of staying in the “here and now” to avoid ruminating about their past (hurt, regret, anger, guilt) or being preoccupied about their future (fearful, hopeless, discouraged, anxious). By staying in the present moment, the individual can gain mastery in reducing the emotional intensity and accept the moment as it is.

Each day and especially on weekends I wake up sober and not hungover I appreciate my life more. I know my family has been extremely supportive and happy for this new life as well. I thank you all as well for the help and support to be able to learn and use the tools needed in living this life that is about my family and health. 

– CHRC Alumni

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