Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is part of the cognitive-behavioral family of therapies. It was originally developed to treat seriously and chronically suicidal patients and has evolved to treat patients who meet criteria for borderline personality disorder and problems of emotional regulation. DBT combines principles of behavioral psychology, which are used to promote change, with mindfulness principles adapted from Buddhism, which are used to promote acceptance (Linehan, 1993). Read more
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Communicating and acting assertively is an interpersonal skill that helps people to maintain healthy relationships, resolve interpersonal conflict, an ... https://www.psychologytools.com/resource/assertive-communication
Being able to communicate assertively is an essential skill for developing and maintaining healthy relationships and positive self-esteem. Individuals ... https://www.psychologytools.com/resource/assertive-responses
Audio Collection: Psychology Tools For Mindfulness
The Psychology Tools For Mindfulness Audio Collection is the perfect way to introduce your clients to the practice of mindfulness. Developed by a clin ... https://www.psychologytools.com/resource/psychology-tools-for-mindfulness-audio-collection
Being With Difficulty (Audio)
Being With Difficulty is a mindfulness exercise which gently brings present-moment awareness to bear upon thoughts and feelings that are more difficul ... https://www.psychologytools.com/resource/being-with-difficulty-audio
Body Scan (Audio)
The Body Scan is a mindfulness exercise encouraging present-moment awareness, with the sensations of the body being used as an anchor for mindful atte ... https://www.psychologytools.com/resource/body-scan-audio
Emotions Motivate Actions
Many clients find it helpful to recognize the range of actions that are motivated by different emotional states. This worksheet encourages clients to ... https://www.psychologytools.com/resource/emotions-motivate-actions
Individuals who have experienced trama often find it difficult to stay within the 'window of tolerance'. Grounding techniques (which can be sensory/pe ... https://www.psychologytools.com/resource/grounding-techniques
Grounding Techniques Menu
Dissociation can be described as a shift of a person’s attention away from the present moment. When working with traumatized clients, this shift oft ... https://www.psychologytools.com/resource/grounding-techniques-menu
Mindful Attention (Audio)
Mindful Attention is a technique for becoming aware of one’s thoughts and experiences, and being able to observe these as transient mental events. ... https://www.psychologytools.com/resource/mindful-attention-audio
Mindfulness In Everyday Life (Audio)
Mindfulness In Everyday Life is a short mindfulness exercise which guides clients how to bring present-moment awareness into everyday life. This audio ... https://www.psychologytools.com/resource/mindfulness-in-everyday-life-audio
Mindfulness Of Breath (Long Version) (Audio)
Mindfulness Of Breath (Long version) is a mindfulness exercise encouraging present-moment awareness, using the breath as an anchor for the attention. ... https://www.psychologytools.com/resource/mindfulness-of-breath-long-version-audio
Mindfulness Of Breath (Short Version) (Audio)
Mindfulness Of Breath (Short version) is a mindfulness exercise encouraging present-moment awareness, using the breath as an anchor for the attention. ... https://www.psychologytools.com/resource/mindfulness-of-breath-short-version-audio
Mindfulness Of Sounds And Thoughts (Audio)
Mindfulness Of Sounds And Thoughts is a mindfulness practice exercise that encourages relating to thoughts as ‘just thoughts’ that come and go in ... https://www.psychologytools.com/resource/mindfulness-of-sounds-and-thoughts-audio
Problem Solving is a structured worksheet which encourages solution-focused thinking. Clients are encouraged to identify a problem, identify multiple ... https://www.psychologytools.com/resource/problem-solving
Raisin Exercise (Audio)
The Raisin Exercise is a short mindfulness exercise encouraging present-moment awareness of the senses, connecting with taste, touch and smell while y ... https://www.psychologytools.com/resource/raisin-exercise-audio
Thinking Versus Sensing (Audio)
Thinking Versus Sensing is a short mindfulness exercise to demonstrate the difference between thinking about our experience and sensing it directly. E ... https://www.psychologytools.com/resource/thinking-versus-sensing-audio
Trauma, Dissociation, And Grounding (Archived)
NOTE: An improved version of this resource is available here: Trauma And Dissociation. Older versions of a resource may be archived in the event that ... https://www.psychologytools.com/resource/trauma-dissociation-and-grounding
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness meditation is a traditional Buddhist practice. It is now commonly taught as a practice helpful in the management of a variety of mental he ... https://www.psychologytools.com/resource/what-is-mindfulness
- Reasons for Living Scale – Long download archived copy
- Reasons for Living Scale – Short download archived copy
- Reasons for Living Scale – scoring download archived copy
- Borderline Symptom List download archived copy
- Modified DBT group therapy manual for working with adolsecents experiencing substance misuse
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy – Youth & coaches workbook download archived copy
- Self-validation skills for use in DBT group skills training download archived copy
Exercises, Worksheets & Workbooks
- Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Skills Handbook download archived copy
- DBT Training – Part 1 archived copy
- DBT Training – Part 2 (behavioral skills) archived copy
- DBT Training – Part 3 (core mindfulness) archived copy
- Distress tolerance handouts download
- Emotion regulation handouts download
- Nightmare protocol download archived copy
- DBT skills quick reference sheet download archived copy
- States of mind handout download archived copy
- 6 levels of validation handout & worksheets download archived copy
- Reality acceptance skills overview download archived copy
- DBT multi-purpose pros & cons worksheet download archived copy
- DBT skills training pros & cons worksheet download archived copy
- Guided mindfulness script for practicing mindfulness to emotion download archived copy
- Distress tolerance worksheet download archived copy
- Emotion myths worksheet download archived copy
- Check the facts handout & worksheet download archived copy
- Opposite action handout & worksheet download archived copy
- Working with primary and secondary emotions worksheet and handout download archived copy
- DBT target behavior chain analysis worksheet download archive.org
- DBT behavior chain & solution analysis worksheet (fillable) download archived copy
- DEAR MAN GIVE FAST handout & worksheet download archived copy
Overcoming distress intolerance (facing your feelings)
- Understanding distress intolerance download
- Accepting distress download
- Improving distress download
- Tolerating distress download
Improving your assertiveness
- What is assertiveness? download
- How to recognise assertive behaviour download
- How to think more assertively download
- How to behave more assertively download
- Reducing physical tension download
- How to say “no” assertively download
- How to deal assertively with criticism download
- How to deal with disappointment assertively download
- How to give and receive compliments assertively download
- Putting it all together download
- The chain analysis in dialectical behavior therapy | Henry Schmidt III | 2012 download archived copy
- Linehan, M. M., & Wilks, C. R. (2015). The course and evolution of dialectical behavior therapy. American journal of psychotherapy, 69(2), 97-110. download archived copy
- Palmer, R. L. (2002). Dialectical behaviour therapy for borderline personality disorder. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, 8, 10-16 download
- Valentine, S. E., Bankoff, S. M., Poulin, R. M., Reidler, E. B., & Pantalone, D. W. (2015). The use of dialectical behavior therapy skills training as stand‐alone treatment: A systematic review of the treatment outcome literature. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 71(1), 1-20. download archived copy
What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?
The Purpose of DBT
Linehan (2015a, 2015b) describes the purpose or functions of DBT as:
- to enhance an individual’s capability by increasing skillful behavior;
- to improve and maintain the client’s motivation to change and to engage with treatment;
- to ensure that generalization of change occurs through treatment;
- to enhance a therapist’s motivation to deliver effective treatment;
- to assist the individual in restructuring or changing her environment in ways that support and maintain progress and movement toward goals.
DBT Skills Training
DBT teaches a balance of ‘acceptance skills’ and ‘change skills.’ These include:
- Mindfulness skills (acceptance) including core mindfulness skills (nonjudgmental observation) and more complex mindfulness practice (wise mind, loving kindness, balancing ‘doing’ and ‘being’).
- Distress tolerance skills (acceptance) including crisis survival skills, reality acceptance skills, and distress tolerance skills related to addiction.
- Emotion regulation skills (change) including recognizing emotions, changing emotional responses (including cognitive restructuring), and reducing vulnerability to the emotional mind.
- Interpersonal effectiveness skills (change) including objectives, relationship, and self-respect effectiveness skills.
Treatment Strategies in DBT
Treatment strategies in DBT include:
- Dialectical strategies in which attention is paid toward balancing acceptance and change. Techniques include the use of metaphor and paradox, cognitive challenging, and restructuring.
- Core strategies include problem solving and validation. Problem solving involves analysis and acceptance of a problem followed by an attempt to generate, evaluate, and implement adaptive solutions. Chain analysis is frequently used to analyze problem behaviors in the context of chains of actions, emotions, physiological responses, and cognitions. Skillful (wise) responses are generated and practiced.
- Communication strategies are closely attended to in DBT. DBT therapists balance reciprocal communication that responds to the client’s agenda with an irreverent communication style intended to promote insight and change.
- Case management strategies are used in DBT to guide the therapist’s interactions, including regular supervision and consultation on the grounds that complex clients should not be treated/‘held’ by a sole clinician.
- Linehan, M. M. (1993). Cognitive–behavioral therapy of borderline personality disorder. New York: Guilford Press.
- Linehan, M. M. (2015a). DBT skills training handouts and worksheets(2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.
- Linehan, M. M. (2015b). DBT skills training manual(2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.