Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

What is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)?

DBT is an evidence-based Cognitive Behavioral therapy developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan.

The “D” means “dialectical.” A dialectic is a synthesis or integration of opposites. In DBT, dialectical strategies help clients get unstuck from extreme positions.

The “B” stands for “behavioral.” DBT requires a behavioral approach. This means that behaviors that are relevant to a client's goals are targeted so that clients can figure out how to solve the problems in their lives.

DBT assumes that many of the problems people experience are caused by skills deficits.  People may not know what skillful behavior is needed or when or how to use it. A key focus in DBT is to improve clients’ ability to use skillful behavior when needed. DBT focuses on developing skills in four areas: