20 DBT Worksheets and Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills

In family therapy, parents and kids get to talk about how things are going at home. Teens can also call their therapists when they need extra help or are thinking of hurting themselves. Stage 2.In this stage, behaviors are more stable, but mental health issues may still be present. The goal of this stage is for people in treatment to experience their emotional pain instead of silencing or burying it.

behavior therapy skills

Many therapists believe that the treatment for borderline personality disorder, in particular, can often take several years. In these sessions, your therapist will teach you skills in a group setting. This isn’t to be confused with group therapy, in which you discuss your problems with others. Think of it more like a teaching and learning session in a classroom setting. Dialectical behavior therapy is especially effective for people who have difficulty managing and regulating their emotions. Much of the research on DBT involves small sample sizes, and not all studies include post-treatment follow-ups.


Therapy-hampering behaviors can include anything from missing appointments to arriving late or not completing homework. In DBT, you identify what this kind of life looks like for you and learn the skills to make it happen. A critical element of learning acceptance is first to grasp the idea of radical acceptance. DBT specifically focuses on providing therapeutic skills in four key areas.

  • This may help explain her affinity for mindfulness, which grew to prominence through a collaboration of traditional Buddhist philosophy and the modern scientific paradigm (The Linehan Institute, n.d.).
  • Dialectical behavior therapy is an evidence-based psychotherapy that began with efforts to treat personality disorders and interpersonal conflicts.
  • Living in the moment can have positive outcomes for a person’s awareness of their body, their ability to regulate their emotions, and their perception of themselves.
  • Both incorporate the past in striving for a healthier future, but this discussion is not a focus of the therapy in DBT as it often is in CBT .
  • The focus is on learning to understand, validate and integrate emotional experience to create a deeper connection with life and to make it more meaningful.
  • Further research is needed to determine the reliability of dissociation as a hallmark of CPTSD, however it is a possible symptom.

These are a Dialectical Behavioral Therapyal science biosocial model of the development of chronic mental health issues, the mindfulness practice of Zen Buddhism, and the philosophy of dialectics. After analyzing these problems, Linehan devised several adaptations to CBT. Acceptance-based techniques were included to ensure participants felt supported and validated before they were asked to focus on change. In addition, dialectics were incorporated to allow therapists and participants in treatment to focus on the synthesis of polar opposites, such as acceptance and change. This helped them to avoid becoming trapped in patterns of extreme position-taking. DBT is considered a subtype of cognitive behavioral therapy , but there’s a lot of overlap between the two.

Critical and Unique Elements of DBT

It is important for all practitioners who wish to offer to obtain certification through the DBT-LBC program. Linehan herself discusses the importance of this certification in a live presentation for Family Action Network. DBT was initially developed to help improve symptoms of BPD and persistent thoughts of suicide. Some therapists also offer phone coaching for extra support between your one-on-one appointments.

mindfulness skills

The first of these ideas is the acceptance of the reality of a person’s life and behaviors. Teen Counseling Online Therapy – Teen Counseling is a leading provider of online therapy for teens. Teens can communicate with their therapist via video, phone, messaging and live chat. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has an excellent online treatment-finding tool.

One-on-one sessions

As such, DBT came to rest on a foundation of dialectical philosophy, whereby therapists strive to continually balance and synthesize acceptance and change-oriented strategies. Dialectical behavior therapy is a modified type of cognitive behavioral therapy . Its main goals are to teach people how to live in the moment, develop healthy ways to cope with stress, regulate their emotions, and improve their relationships with others. People with borderline personality disorder have trouble regulating their moods, which leads to impulsivity and conflict in interpersonal relationships. That, in turn, often leaves them feeling misunderstood by others around them.

Perseius, K-I., Samuelsson, M., Andersson, E., Berndtsson, T., Götmark, H., …. Does dialectical behavioural therapy reduce treatment costs for patients with borderline personality disorder. The cost effectiveness of DBT also extends past the treatment year as evidenced by a recent examination in a VA hospital setting. Meyers and colleagues found that veterans who received DBT treatment had significantly decreased the use of outpatient mental health services in the following year by 48%.

A brief history of DBT

DBT combines standard cognitive-behavioral techniques for emotion regulation and reality-testing with concepts of distress tolerance, acceptance, and mindful awareness largely derived from contemplative meditative practice. DBT is based upon the biosocial theory of mental illness and is the first therapy that has been experimentally demonstrated to be generally effective in treating borderline personality disorder . The first randomized clinical trial of DBT showed reduced rates of suicidal gestures, psychiatric hospitalizations, and treatment dropouts when compared to treatment as usual. A meta-analysis found that DBT reached moderate effects in individuals with BPD.

Mindfulness has clear applicability in this therapy, through its ability to help practitioners to become more aware of their feelings, thoughts, impulses, and behaviors . Mindfulness can be practiced whether you are participating in Dialectical Behavior Therapy treatment or not, and DBT skills involve mindfulness among many others. There is often a prompting event, followed by interpretation, body changes in response to the emotions, and action urges. If you’re interested in learning more about how to practice mindfulness, check out our post on mindfulness exercises and techniques. DBT, like CBT, focuses on helping people address their dysfunctional thinking and behavior through modification of their thought patterns and, through changing their thoughts, their behavior as well.

Participants in clinical trials such as these exhibited a decrease in symptoms, and throughout the 12-week trial, no self-injurious or suicidal behaviors were reported. Dialectical behavior therapy is a type of talk therapy for people who experience emotions very intensely. It’s a common therapy for people with borderline personality disorder, but therapists provide it for other mental health conditions as well. Unlike most other cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, where you’d normally go to either group or individual therapy, with DBT, you’ll attend both formats. Group therapy for DBT involves lectures, discussions, and the opportunity to practice and implement techniques you’re learning. Group sessions will often take place once a week over the course of about 5 months.

By Bobella

I'm a twenty-something freelance writer and designer who lives in Memphis, TN with my husband, cat, and chinchilla. I require coffee and the internet to live.