Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

The Hummingbird Clinic is proud to offer Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), an incredibly versatile and practical therapy that can be used to help anyone increase their overall well-being, experience more enjoyment, and mindfulness of the present moment, improve mood, increase self-respect and gain effective communication skills. Our DBT providers have completed extensive training at both the doctoral and post-doctoral levels to specialize in this comprehensive skills-based therapy.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a type of psychotherapy that was originally developed by psychologist Marsha M. Linehan to treat individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD). However, it has since been adapted and proven effective in treating other conditions as well, such as self-harm behaviors, eating disorders, substance use disorders, and mood disorders.

As its name suggests, DBT was developed from the philosophical perspective of dialectics or balancing opposites. It combines elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) with mindfulness practices and incorporates strategies from dialectics, which is the integration of seemingly opposing viewpoints. It is a comprehensive and structured therapy that focuses on helping individuals develop skills to regulate their emotions, tolerate distress, improve interpersonal relationships, and increase mindfulness.

Key components and strategies of DBT include:

  1. Mindfulness: Mindfulness is a central component of DBT. Patients are taught to cultivate non-judgmental awareness of the present moment, paying attention to their thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations. Mindfulness skills help individuals become more aware of their experiences and develop greater acceptance and self-compassion.
  2. Emotional regulation: Patients learn skills to identify and understand their emotions, regulate intense emotions, and decrease emotional vulnerability. This involves learning to identify triggers, challenging and changing emotional responses, and using adaptive coping strategies.
  3. Distress tolerance: DBT helps individuals develop skills to tolerate and manage distressing situations without engaging in impulsive or self-destructive behaviors. Techniques such as distraction, self-soothing, and improving crisis survival skills are taught to help individuals navigate difficult emotions.
  4. Interpersonal effectiveness: This aspect of DBT focuses on improving communication skills, setting boundaries, and building healthier relationships. Patients learn strategies to express their needs, assertively negotiate conflicts, and establish and maintain fulfilling connections with others.
  5. Dialectical thinking: Dialectics in DBT refers to the idea that individuals can hold opposing viewpoints simultaneously and find a synthesis that integrates both perspectives. This helps individuals develop a more balanced and nuanced understanding of themselves and others, reducing black-and-white thinking and promoting flexibility.

DBT is typically conducted in both individual therapy sessions and skills training groups. Individual therapy allows for personalized attention and addressing specific concerns, while skills training groups provide a structured environment for learning and practicing skills with others who are facing similar challenges.

DBT is often a long-term therapy that requires commitment and active participation from both the patient and the therapist. It aims to enhance a person’s quality of life, reduce self-destructive behaviors, and promote emotional well-being and interpersonal effectiveness.