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Dialectical Behavioral Therapy - The Five W’s of DBT

Monday, April 27, 2015 - 3:56 pm
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy - The Five W’s of DBT

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is a therapy modality that has been found to be effective in treating individuals with borderline personality disorder as well as substance dependence, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and eating disorders.  Below is some information that highlights the key elements and how they are effective in treatment.

Key Terms:

  • Dialectics - The mind’s way of understanding concepts and appreciating their polar opposites. For example, the desire to restrict food (as with someone who struggles with anorexia) AND the desire to remain in recovery from one’s eating disorder. The goal is not to eliminate the thought around restricting, but rather to acknowledge it and then utilize skills to remain in recovery.
  • Behavioral - Changing potentially self-destructive behaviors.

WHO: Psychologist, Marsha M. Linehan developed DBT to treat chronically suicidal individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD).

Research has shown that DBT is not only the “Gold Standard” for treating individuals with BPD, but is also effective in treating other disorders such as substance dependence, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and eating disorders.

WHEN: The development of DBT began in the late 1980’s.

WHERE: Dr. Linehan is the founder of the Linehan Institute of Behavioral Technology and a Professor of Psychology at the University of Washington.

WHAT: Individuals will typically attend individual therapy in addition to DBT groups.

DBT includes four sets of behavioral skills:

•Mindfulness: the practice of being fully aware and present in this one moment; practice controlling one’s attention

•Distress Tolerance: how to tolerate pain in difficult situations, not change it (i.e. activities, relaxation, prayer, and imagery).

•Interpersonal Effectiveness: how to ask for what you want and say no while maintaining self-respect and relationships with others

•Emotion Regulation: how to change emotions that you want to change

WHY: DBT is one a few empirically supported therapies – this means DBT is “based on, concerned with, or verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic.”

Michelle Mannino-Purkey is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist whose focus is on the health and well-being of the entire family.  Michelle is committed to offering her clients support and empathy as well as a challenge and encouragement in finding new solutions. Michelle sees patients from our Orland Park office. Call for an appointment: 800-461-9533.