What is Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)?

  1. “Dialectical” is a fancy (and confusing) philosophical term for the perspective that everyone (and everything) contains contradictions. To solve a problem (or get to the “truth”) we need to find the right balance between seeming opposites.
  2. The therapist must find the right balance between validating you (which is necessary for you to feel understood and accepted) and challenging you (which is necessary for you to make changes and grow). Finding the balance is challenging for you (and your therapist).
  3. Your issues are understood as a combination of biology (for example, the inborn tendency to be sensitive and impulsive) and your social environment (for example, a life of feeling invalidated).
  4. You will learn healthier coping skills and learn to identify the factors in your life that promote and hinder change. For example, you will explore each step in the “chain of events” leading up to your behaviour: vulnerability  –> immediate trigger –> your actions or behaviour –> consequences.
  5. Mindfulness meditation practice will be incorporated into the therapy.