Dialectical Behavioural Therapy Toronto

DBT is a form of CBT originally developed by Marsha Linehan to treat individuals who were once considered to be impossible to treat or very difficult to treat. After years of extensive research, DBT is now applicable to many different situations and mental health conditions. The “D” in DBT stands for dialectical. Within the structure of DBT, dialectics refer to the integration and synthesis of opposites. This can look like being able to take on multiple perspectives, being able to integrate various points of view before jumping to conclusions and taking the “middle path”. The “B” in DBT refers to Behavioural. DBT borrows some tools from CBT in this sense by also focusing on behavioural changes which help people live happier and healthier lives. The concept of acceptance is added to the behavioural change piece in DBT as the theory believes that it is only through acceptance of where one is that change can actually occur. By balancing validation and acceptance of where the client is at with eliciting change, the DBT therapist can encourage better choices and empower the client to take action. DBT also has four main skills which are thought to be core elements which can help people solve problems when they arise. They are:

  1. Mindfulness: the practise of being fully present and aware in the current moment
  2. Distress tolerance: the act of being able tolerate difficult situation and pain
  3. Emotional regulation: practising being in control of one’s emotions, being able to name them and be aware of them
  4. Interpersonal effectiveness: being able to navigate our relationships, communicate our needs effectively and maintain healthy boundaries.
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