What is Up with All Those Acronyms: DBT

The therapy world is filled with so many acronyms and it can get confusing and overwhelming. Each week, I will break down several of the acronyms you may have heard or read about.

Let’s start with DBT.

What is DBT?

DBT stands for Dialectical Behavior Therapy use to treat a variety of conditions such as personality disorders, suicidal behaviors, mood disorders, eating disorders and PSTD.

DBT consists of four main components:

·      Distress tolerance

·      Emotion regulation

·      Interpersonal Effectiveness

·      Mindfulness


Distress tolerance teaches skills that allow individuals to calm their intense emotions until they come to a safe to confront them.

Emotion regulation takes this one step further by teaching individuals how to name their emotions they are experiencing. How many times have you felt “just off” and can’t seem to really describe how you are feeling. In DBT, you can learn to adequately name your emotion in order to move to changing this to a more adaptive emotion through a variety of skills that DBT teaches.

Interpersonal effectiveness acknowledges that sometimes our intense emotions may damage relationships, so it provides opportunities to practice healthy boundaries and assertive communication styles.

Mindfulness involves staying present in the moment. You mind is here with you now, not thinking about the past or worried about the future. This concept is woven throughout DBT.

                  DBT is a very active, directive, and educational therapy styles that can be conducive to many individuals. Ask your therapist if they feel DBT is right for you. Here are a few questions you may ask:

                  Is there evidence can treat my condition?

                  Do you have background or training in DBT?

                  Is DBT appropriate at our point in treatment?