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Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

- DBT -

DBT Aims

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) was developed to help people who struggle with a vast amount of difficulties, including suicidality and self-harm, without letting these latter two issues become the sole focus of therapy.  

 DBT recognises the importance of both the individual and the environment of the individual (hence the term “dialectical”). As a result, DBT often has a reputation of being more validating for individuals than some other therapies that insistently focus on change. 


DBT also aims to help people deal with the emotional struggles they face depending on what is happening for them as an individual and how the environment impacts on their symptoms.


DBT Philosophy

DBT was based on a model that indicates that the individual and their environment influence each other in a reciprocal manner.

 Hence, DBT argues that emotion dysregulation results from this reciprocal process between the individual and the environment in which the individual was raised or presently lives.

DBT Approach

Overall, DBT aims to improve on: important interpersonal skills, self-regulation and emotional regulation skills, and distress tolerance skills. 


While working towards these aims, DBT acknowledges that both individual and environmental factors hinder the use of the person’s existing behavioural skills.


As a result, DBT aims to teach the person four sets of behavioural skills: mindfulness; distress tolerance; interpersonal effectiveness; and emotion regulation.