What is DBT?


Sometimes, life can be challenging. It’s not easy to keep our emotions in check during distressing times. We may have trouble communicating with others and may unintentionally cause conflicts. We might feel like we’re on an emotional roller coaster without any control of where we’re headed.

What can you do if you’re feeling this way? Try DBT!

What’s DBT? DBT is short for Dialectical Behavior Therapy. It’s an evidence-based therapy that integrates Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) with Eastern mindfulness practices. DBT skills can help ANY person who struggles with coping skills, emotion regulation or interpersonal connection! It helps people develop coping skills, reduce self-harm behaviors and improve negative patterns of thinking. It also validates and empowers people as they learn and apply skills to manage emotions and urges. The goal of DBT is to create a life worth living.

You may be wondering, how does it work? Let’s start with the basics.

DBT is founded on mindfulness. When we are mindful, we are grounded in the present moment. We are able to recognize our thoughts without being overwhelmed. We can avoid acting on impulse and instead, make thoughtful decisions. Mindfulness makes it easier to focus on, treasure, and enjoy fun times as well. By practicing mindfulness and honing your mindfulness skills, you can feel more aware of your emotions and your state of mind.

DBT teaches us about our three states of mind: Emotion Mind, Logical/Rational Mind, and Wise Mind.

  • In emotion mind, your feelings are in charge and your thoughts and behaviors are driven by them. Emotions are not bad; however there are good and bad emotional reactions to every situation. In emotion mind, your emotions cause you to act in a way that isn’t logical, that is driven by your emotions.

  • In rational mind, you are focused on facts, you are using reason and logic, and you are disconnected from your emotions. You recognize the logical consequences as you decide how to respond to a situation. In rational mind, you do what works or what makes sense.

  • In Wise Mind, you feel your emotions while also focusing on the facts, and you are able to make decisions based on both. It is the integration of your emotions and logic. You should aim to be in Wise Mind in order to make informed, healthy, and effective decisions.

Overall, DBT teaches us skills that will help with acceptance and change. The main goals of DBT skills therapy are safety, learning useful coping skills, and creating a life worth living. Practicing DBT helps us become mindful about our emotions, develop healthy relationships, and find balance in our lives.

If you are interested in learning more about DBT, there are a variety of formats available for you. We offer individual, group, and family DBT skills training at Mindsoother. Over the years, we have observed a decrease in the symptoms of our clients who add DBT skills to their toolbox. These skills are effective in helping people feel like there are more options in emotional situations. They are better able to find meaning and cope while managing difficult emotions and pain.