04 April 2013

D is for...

Welcome to day four of the A to Z challenge!

Today's topic is DBT. DBT stands for Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. It's a treatment modality used in counseling that was designed in the 80's by a psychologist named Marsha Linehan. She created DBT as a means to treat individuals diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. Linehan was trying to help these individuals, who were often prone to dramatic mood swings, frequently viewed the world in a black and white fashion, and seemed to be experiencing either perpetual or a cycle of chronic crises; Linehan sought to provide these people with skills to better manage their own emotions and safety.

Today, DBT stands as one of the most prominent and popular evidenced-based practices in counseling.  Most community services boards offers their employees some kind of DBT training program to introduce them to the basics, so that they may begin to (with training and support) use this effective treatment method with consumers.

DBT has been found to be an effective treatment for not only Borderline Personality Disorder, but also for a multitude of other mental health or substance abuse needs - depression, bipolar, addiction. It's a complicated program, comprised for four modules (Mindfulness, Emotional Regulation, Distress Tolerance, Effective Communication) that are reviewed in group format, with concurrent individual therapy and homework. Time and again I have seen its effectiveness in improving an individual's quality of life by giving them skills to manage their own world more effectively, communicate more effectively, and respond more effectively.

If you or a loved one are seeking mental health treatment and willing to work for change, ask your treatment provider about DBT. See if that is on the table for your treatment plan.


  1. Hello. Very interesting and informative. Believe it or not, I read it all instead of scanning it. Psychology was my minor in college 50 years ago. I've always found it fascinating. Best regards to you. Ruby.

  2. Glad to know there is an effective treatment for BPD, I thought it wasn't really treatable. Known people with it and dealing with them is challenging.

    I learned something new visiting your blog (as part of the A to Z) so thank you!


  3. Madhaus, you are welcome! BPD isn't easy to treat, this is true. DBT requires a lot of work on the individual's part and it's a year committment. It can, however, when used properly, provide significant symptom relief and improve a person's quality of life.

  4. So glad there's a treatment out there for borderline personality disorder. Thank you for sharing this!
    Heather the Evil Twin, visiting with love from the A-to-Z Challenge @ thewinetwins.blogspot.com