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DBT Therapy : Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

DBT Therapy or Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is a behavioural approach related to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).  DBT therapy focuses on changing unhelpful behaviours, and is an effective approach when used to address issues such as substance abuse, self harm and suicidal tendencies.

dialectical behaviour therapy training and dbt therapyDialectical behaviour therapy works by bringing an awareness of a person’s cognitive and behavioural reactions to situations, and the triggers that are fundamental in their making. By learning to recognise and understand the triggers involved, effective coping strategies which are more appropriate to the situation, can be developed.

DBT therapy can be instrumental in helping those people who experience a high level of emotional stimulation.

Specific DBT training is required to practise as a dialectical behaviour therapy counsellor.   All of our therapists have undergone extensive DBT training to ensure our clients get the best possible treatment.

Individuals that may benefit from dialectical behaviour therapy, include:

  • People that lack control of their cognitive and behavioural responses, to certain situations
  • People with borderline personality disorder BPD
  • Sufferers of post traumatic stress disorder PTSD
  • Sufferers of an eating disorder
  • People with affective disorder or mood disorder (depression)
  • People with suicidal tendencies, people who self harm
  • Persons with a history of alcohol and or drug abuse

Attributes of DBT therapy include support in identifying where a person’s strengths lie.  This is so they can begin to build foundations, in establishing a strong sense of self worth and self belief.dbt therapy and dbt training skills

Dialectical behaviour therapy helps in identifying negative thought patterns. It teaches people how to replace these negative patterns of thought, with a more balanced alternative.

DBT therapy is collaborative, with the therapist encouraging their client to work with them in resolving any relationship issues.


Within DBT therapy, there are a number of dialectical behaviour therapy skills, that you will learn.  These dialectical behaviour therapy skills, will be learned in such a way, that you will be able to apply them to yourself.  This will make interaction with other people, less intense, and give you the ability to reduce heightened emotional states.

Weekly individual sessions are recommended (between the client and dialectical behaviour therapy therapist).  These DBT therapy sessions, will include behavioural problem solving.

dbt therapy and dialectical behaviour therapy trainingFirstly, therapy will address any suicidal tendencies or self harming behaviours.  DBT therapy sessions will then look at any issues that may be interfering with the therapeutic process as a whole.  DBT therapy will progress, with moving onto areas linked to your quality of life, and general well-being.

Other issues like self image and self worth would also be addressed.  DBT therapy will also explore any incidents surrounding post traumatic stress.  Basic social skills are developed further, and management strategies are implemented accordingly.

As well as individual client sessions, group sessions of DBT therapy can take place.  These will generally happen once a month and will include the dialectical behaviour therapy counsellor, as well as several other clients, who are also having DBT therapy.

DBT therapy counsellors are required to attend regular DBT training as part of their Continued professional development (CPD).  This will ensure they are aware of the latest developments of dialectical behaviour therapy and have the opportunity to explore new techniques, from DBT therapy.

Brief telephone support can also be provided through dialectical behaviour therapy.  This works with the DBT therapy counsellor, helping the client to integrate newly learned skills, from their dialectical behaviour therapy sessions, into their daily lives.


1. DBT Therapy and Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the main conception behind DBT therapy.  It is the basis for all specific dialectical behaviour therapy skills, taught in DBT therapy.

dbt therapy and mindfulness trainingMindfulness enables acceptance of a person’s intense emotional state. Mindfulness teaches how to focus without judgement.  It teaches us about the present, living in the moment, and on giving perspective, to these feelings of intense emotional states.

To be non judgemental is to recognise the facts only, without adding personal opinion to those facts.  For example, if you think the facts are good, or if you think they are unfair.  Mindfulness suggests the facts are the facts, neither good, neither unfair.

Mindfulness teaches us how to observe a situation.  It teaches us to observe what is happening around us, by looking, both from within, and from outside of one’s self.

DBT therapy teaches dialectical behaviour therapy skills, that allow us to experience feelings, without the need to get caught up and consumed by them.

DBT therapy teaches how to articulate without judgement, things that you have observed.  Mindfulness helps clients focus and contribute to activities.

2. DBT Therapy and Distress Tolerance

This DBT therapy skill teaches the ability to recognise, accept and tolerate distress associated with specific situations.  And, because this is without judgement, approval isn’t sought.

This DBT therapy skill allows the client to give careful consideration, to what best course of action they should take (if any), to certain situations.  This is in stark contrast to their normal destructive behaviours, relative to borderline personality disorder BPD.

3. DBT Therapy and Emotion Regulation

People with suicidal tendencies, who self harm or have a borderline personality disorder, are prone to intense, very changeable, emotional states.

dbt therapy / dialectical behavioural therapy training skillsLearning dialectical behaviour therapy skills can help regulate these extreme feelings.  DBT therapy skills incorporating emotional regulation, may help:

  • Firstly, in recognising what it is we are feeling, for example depression, frustration, anger or anxiety
  • What is stopping us from changing these feelings, or what is keeping our attention on these feelings
  • Being less susceptible to extreme emotional stimulation
  • Mindful of positive events and the feelings attached
  • Mindfulness of current feelings
  • Be able to consider decisive actions other than unhelpful automatic reactions
  • Enable distress tolerance DBT therapy skills learned

4. DBT Therapy and Interpersonal Effectiveness

This involves implementing newly learned strategies, from your dialectical behaviour therapy sessions.  This may include being able to say no, asking for help, or asking for what you need.  dbt therapy helps people who self harmThis also includes coping with conflicts within relationships and conflicts concerning communication with other people.

Some people with borderline personality disorder, have a great awareness of effective behavioural approaches.  For example, when describing actions that another person should take in certain difficult situations.  The difficulty is in applying the same effective behavioural approach, to their own problematic situation.

This DBT therapy module is focused on the client successfully achieving their aims in specific situations.  The focus should be on not harming self respect (own or anyone else), or the relationship.

Dialectical behaviour therapy, like DBT training, is constantly evolving as we seek to effectively treat clients.

We offer DBT therapy at our Harley Street clinic, as well as online, via Skype.

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