Menu Close

What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

therapist explaining to serious male patient what is dialectical behavior therapy

Behavioral health encompasses both substance use disorders and mental health disorders. In treating these various disorders, behavioral health specialists employ a wide variety of evidence-based and holistic therapeutic approaches. If you are seeking treatment for an addiction or a mental health condition, you may have encountered the term dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). But what is dialectical behavior therapy?

Dialectical behavior therapy is an evidence-based therapeutic approach for treating substance use disorders, mental health disorders, and other related conditions. DBT is based on cognitive-behavioral principles and focuses on helping individuals gain skills for effective problem-solving, communication, and self-regulation. DBT is a comprehensive treatment program that combines individual therapy with group skills-training sessions.

The Arbor Behavioral Healthcare offers treatment programs for a wide variety of behavioral health issues and makes extensive use of dialectical behavior therapy. Call 844.413.2690 today to learn more or get started.

What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

DBT is a strategy used by therapists that teaches the patient to create change in their lives while also learning to accept that which cannot be changed. DBT emphasizes a collaborative approach between the patient and therapist in order to identify core issues that may be driving destructive behaviors. The overall goal of DBT is to help individuals develop effective strategies for dealing with difficult emotions and situations and make better decisions when faced with difficult choices.

There are four main principles of DBT:


The mindfulness principle of DBT is about learning to be aware of what is happening in the present moment. It helps you pay attention and accept how you are feeling without judging yourself. The goal is to help you learn how to make better decisions when faced with difficult choices.

Distress Tolerance

The distress tolerance principle of DBT helps people learn how to get through difficult situations without making things worse. It teaches people how to accept their situation and cope with it in a healthy way.

Emotion Regulation

The emotion regulation principle of DBT teaches people how to manage their emotions in a healthy way. It helps them understand why they feel certain emotions and how to respond to them positively.

Interpersonal Effectiveness

The interpersonal effectiveness principle of DBT teaches people how to communicate with others in a way that gets them what they want without hurting their relationships. It helps people learn to speak up for themselves, ask for help, and say no when needed.

These principles are addressed during DBT sessions through individual therapy, group skills-training sessions, telephone coaching, and other strategies.

What Are the Benefits of Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

Although DBT is not a cure for mental health and substance use disorders, it can provide many benefits to those who receive it. Some of the main advantages of DBT include the following:

• Improved communication skills

• Increased self-awareness

• Enhanced problem-solving abilities

• Better impulse control

• Greater ability to manage and regulate emotions

• Enhanced coping skills

• Improved relationships with others.

Behavioral health specialists who rely on dialectical behavior therapy to treat their clients have seen positive results—not only in terms of reducing destructive behaviors but also in helping clients gain a better understanding of their underlying mental health issues.

Reach Out to The Arbor Today

If you or someone you know is struggling with a behavioral health issue, dialectical behavior therapy may be an effective option for building the skills and strategies needed to live a healthy and productive life. Contact The Arbor Behavioral Healthcare today for more information about our integrative and holistic approach to treating addiction and mental health issues.

If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 844.413.2690 or reach out online.