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Dialectical Behavioral Therapy aka DBT


Dialetical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) was first developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan to treat people with chronic suicidal thinking and behaviors, as well as other behaviors that disrupt a person's life.  Today, DBT can be used to treat a variety of problems.  DBT is about teaching skills, and their application to help people build satisfying lives.  These skills include:




Mindfulness has to do with the quality of awareness that a person

brings to everyday living; learning to control your mind, rather

than letting your mind control you. Mindfulness as a practice

directs your attention to only one thing, and that on

thing is the moment you are living in. When you recognize the

moment, what it looks like, feels like, tastes like, sounds like – you

are being mindful. Further, mindfulness is the process of observing,

describing, and participating in reality in a non-judgmental manner, in the moment and with effectiveness. Mindfulness is the window to acceptance, freedom, and wisdom.


Mindfulness Handouts and Exercises:





Distress Tolerance Skills

Distress Tolerance skills are "learning to bear pain skillfully". The ability to tolerate and accept distress is an essential mental health goal.  Pain is a part of life.  Somethings in life we can't control, or chage.  Distress tolerance skills are used when we are unable, unwilling, or it would be inappropriate to change a situation.





Emotional Regulation

Emotion Regulation is learning to understand how your emotions work.  Emotional Regulation skills help you: learn to manage your emotions instead of being managed by them, to reduce how vulnerable we are to negative emotions, and to build positive emotional experiences.




Interpersonal Effectiveness


Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills are about communication.  These skills help you learn how to communicate more effectively, and approach conversations in a more thoughtful and deliberate way (rather than impulsively and acting on emotions).  The key components of these skills are to teach you how to ask for help, and how to set boundaries by syaing no to requests, when appropriate.









Dialectics thinking means that two ideas can be true at the same time.  There is more than one "true" way to see a situation, and more than  one "true" opinion, idean, thought or dream.  Furthermore, two things that seem like opposites can also be true at the same time.  Thinking dialetcially means letting go of "all or nothing" thinking, or thinking in balck and white terms.  It is living life in the many shades of grey in between.  This requires moving away from "either, or" thinking to "both, and" thinking.  Examples of dialectical thnking are:








Validation means telling someone what they think, feel and experience is valid.  Validation does not mean you APPROVE or AGREE of behavior, validation is non-judgmental.  When a person confides in you, they are not usually looking for advice or problem-solving unless they specifically ask for it. Rather, they are looking for validation.  Validation improves the quality of relationships.


Emotional invalidation occurs when a person’s thoughts and feelings are rejected, ignored, or judged. Invalidation is emotionally upsetting for anyone, but particularly hurtful for someone who is emotionally sensitive.





Mindfulness is 

"the intentional, accepting and non-judgmental focus of one's attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment"

-Jon Kabat-Zinn 

Mindfulness Guided Meditation - Mark Williams and Danny Penman

Free Meditation MP3 

Interpersonal Effectiveness
  • You are doing the best you can AND you can try harder.

  • You can take care of yourself AND you need support and help from others.

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