Is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) The Answer?

“It’s hard to be happy without a life worth living. This is a fundamental tenet of DBT.  

Of course, all lives are worth living in reality. No life is not worth living.  

But what is important is that you experience your life as worth living.  

One that is satisfying, and one that brings happiness.” 

― Marsha M. Linehan, Creator of DBT 


What is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)? 

DBT is a structured therapy program created to help with managing emotions, stress, and relationships. It focuses on four main concepts: Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotion Regulation, and Interpersonal Effectiveness.  

DBT is a weekly program involving an individual therapy session, a skills training group session, and the option for phone coaching as needed. DBT is a considerable commitment, but it can significantly improve the quality of life.

How can DBT be helpful to those who have not found relief with other forms of therapy?  

  • Structure – The clear guidelines and expectations of DBT can provide a stronger sense of stability compared to other forms of therapy.  
  • Practicality – The behavioral component of DBT focuses most on implementing the skills for a better life, rather than gaining insight (which is often the focus of traditional therapy). It’s more about making change, rather than reflecting on what it all means.  
  • Group Benefits – The group therapy component of DBT provides social support and an opportunity to practice new skills with others facing similar challenges. 
  • Long-Term Relief – Research has shown that the benefits of DBT often endure over time, helping people maintain progress and reduce the risk of relapse. 
  • Validation – Validation is a key component of DBT, which can be especially helpful for those who have felt judged, criticized, or misunderstood in the past.

Is DBT right for me/ my child?   

DBT is the evidence-based treatment for BPD (borderline personality disorder), though it can also be helpful to anyone who struggles with emotion dysregulation, relationship issues, low self-worth, impulse control, self-harm, and/or suicidality. DBT intends to greatly reduce harmful behaviors and promote improved well-being. 

To learn more about Austin DBT Associate’s offerings and/or talk to a provider about joining a program, click here. 

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