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Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Learn About DBT and its ability to Eliminate Distress In Your Life

What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) aims to teach people how to live a more positive, in-the-moment life. DBT provides healthy ways for coping with stress and regulating emotions. This, in turn, will also improve relationships with others.
How Was DBT Therapy Developed

How Was DBT Developed

DBT was developed by Marsha Linehan in the 1970’s, a psychology researcher at the University of Washington. This treatment was originally intended to treat Borderline Personality Disorder. It can help individuals with emotional regulation, distress tolerance, or interpersonal effectiveness. DBT is beneficial for self-destructive behaviors. They would include ones such as eating disorders, substance abuse, or PTSD.

DBT has also been successfully adapted for other difficult disorders. Generalized anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder respond well.

What Happens During a DBT Session?

In DBT, your counselor will work with you to resolve internal contradictions. The contradictions are between the self-acceptance of current beliefs and change for positive outcomes. Your counselor will explore with you how current actions “make sense” within your personal experience. This understanding will reduce the stress associated with change. You will learn emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance, and mindfulness.

DBT can be within one-on-one therapy or a group setting. The goal of DBT is to target issues that cause distress. The counselor teaches the skills to deal with them without self-defeating behaviors.

Looking for our DBT Skills Group? Click here

How Does DBT Work?

Individual therapy sessions focus on helping patients cope with their person challenges. Here you will explore, one on one, to target issues that cause distress. The counselor will teach you the skills to deal with them, without self-defeating behaviors.

DBT can also take place in groups, where clients learn techniques together. They practice role playing to simulate interactions with others and receive homework to apply their skills in real-life situations.

What are the Benefits of DBT?

DBT offers several benefits for individuals struggling with emotional and behavioral challenges.

1. Emotion Regulation: Firstly, it provides effective tools and strategies to regulate emotions and manage distress. It improves interpersonal relationships. Through both individual one-on-one and group role-playing exercises, clients gain practical skills and learn.

2. Individual & Group Therapy: Both individual and group therapy are important components of DBT. DBT can be used for individual therapy sessions. This one-on-one support allows your counselor to address specific issues and help patients develop personalized coping strategies. It provides a safe space for exploring deeper emotions, past traumas, and develop a stronger sense of self.

Overall, DBT offers a comprehensive approach that combines individual therapy, group support and real-world application. It’s focus on emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, and coping skills equip individuals with the tools needed to navigate life’s challenges. Clients also improve emotional well-being, and cultivate more satisfying relationships.

Who Can DBT Help?

DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) can be beneficial for a wide range of individuals facing various emotional and behavior challenges. It was originally developed to help individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), however it has since been adapted and proven effective for several other conditions and populations. Some of the groups that can benefit from DBT include:

* Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) individuals: DBT is particularly well-suited for individuals diagnosed with BPD, as it targets the core symptoms of the disorder. They include emotional instability, self-destructive behaviors, and relationship difficulties.

* People involved in recovery: DBT can be integrated into the recovery process, helping individuals develop coping skills to manage triggers, cravings and emotional dysregulation.

* Individuals with mood disorders: DBT techniques can benefit individuals with depression, bipolar disorder, and other mood disorders. DBT provides tools to manage mood swings, regulate emotions, and improve overall emotional well-being.

* Individuals with eating disorders: DBT skills can be useful for individuals struggling with eating disorders and assisting them in managing emotions related to body image. DBT can help with the development of healthier coping mechanisms, and improving self-esteem.

* Adolescents and young adults: DBT has been adapted for younger populations, and it can be effective in addressing emotional dysregulatoin, self-harm, and suicidal ideation. DBT works with behavioral issues commonly experienced during adolescence.

FAQs about Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

We get a lot of questions about DBT and to help you better understand what Dialectical Behavior Therapy is, and whether to consider or not to consider DBT, we thought it best to address many of those questions for you.

1. Is DBT for young adults helpful?

Yes! DBT for young adults can be extremely helpful when they are struggling with things like:

While it was initially developed for people afflicted with Borderline Personality Disorder, it can be adapted to treat:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Eating Disorders
  • Self-harm related behaviors
  • Recovery programs

2. Does DBT for recovery really work?

Absolutely! The reason we can say yes without a doubt is that recovery is often part of dealing with other co-occurring mental health conditions. DBT teaches individuals how to identify and label emotions, especially ones that can trigger a response. Coping skills are also part of managing stress and staying calm. Goal setting and achievement is also encouraged and developed.

It’s worth noting that DBT for recovery typically involves a combination of multiple types of therapy. We are all unique and because of this, there is no “one size fits all”

Our DBT counselors might recommend combining individual therapy and group therapy for your DBT plan. After the initial consultation, we can help determine which course of therapy plan is right for you.

3. Can DBT for couples save my relationship?

DBT for couples, also known as DBT couples therapy, can be helpful in improving communication and/or resolving conflicts in a relationship.

As you work with your counselor, you’ll learn things like how to:

4. What about DBT for complex PTSD? Can DBT really help with that?

We have seen individuals with PTSD and complex PTSD respond very positively to DBT. Learning skills like mindfulness, along with emotion regulation and distress tolerance are beneficial. They help clients manage intense emotions and distress.

DBT, in combination with Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy and individual therapy can be beneficial. Clients address both the immediate systems and the underlying traumatic experiences.

* Arizona’s Pathways Counseling Services is proud to have some of the best DBT counselors in Scottsdale. Ask your counselor about treatment plans available to you, and they will work with you to develop the right one for your unique needs.

5. Can DBT trauma therapy help me heal from my trauma?

We believe DBT trauma therapy can be very helpful for healing from trauma.

DBT trauma therapy combines the principles of DBT with trauma-focused therapy. The goal of it is to help you manage your emotions and better tolerate the distress you are feeling.

When you work with our DBT counselors, we’ll help you cope with your feelings of trauma, anxiety and the impact your trauma is having on your mental health.

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DBT Skills Group

Pathways Counseling Services offers DBT Psychoeducational Skills groups, comprised of 4 treatment modules, each six (6) weeks in length.

Please complete the form below to sign up now for the new group starting October 25, 2023



The modules are Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotion Regulation, and Interpersonal Effectiveness

Each of the modules is described below:

Mindfulness – This module focuses on improving the ability to accept and be present in the moment. You will learn skills on how to set aside worries about the past and future. This will allow you to completely address what is happening right now. Feel more in control of your emotions versus your emotions controlling you.

Distress Tolerance – This module is geared towards increasing the tolerance for negative emotions. This will allow you to deal with them rather than trying to ignore them. Individuals will learn to cope with situations that cause stress and anxiety. You’ll develop reframing skills for their thoughts and implementing self-soothing techniques.

Emotion Regulation – This module teaches participants how to understand and navigate powerful emotions. It is a strategy used to manage and regulate the emotions that are intense and problematic. You will learn to adapt and change your emotions. The goal is to improve your mindset and how you cope with them to reduce the impact. This will lead to creating more positive actions.

Interpersonal Effectiveness – This module teaches techniques to better communicate with others. You will understand how to do it in a way that’s more easily understood. Members of the group learn how to establish what they want. You’ll understand how to assess your needs, and maintain self-respect. The outcome will be healthy relationships with others.

Each treatment module is taught in a small group setting one night per week for six weeks. The cost of each of the four modules is $420 and includes a binder full of helpful resources and the protocol. 

DBT Psychoeducational Groups

The next DBT Psychoeducational Group – INTERPERSONAL EFFECTIVENESS is registering now – complete the form below to join the group.

Start date is October 25, 2023.

The group will meet from 5:30 P.M. TO 7:00 P.M.  – Wednesday

Contact us to learn more.

Complete the contact information below to register for the upcoming class:

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FAQs About DBT Skills Group Therapy

Not sure if DBT Skills Group Therapy is right for you? Below are some answers to frequently asked questions that may help you decide.

1. How does DBT Skills Group therapy work?

Once you sign up, you will be given all of the information for where and when to attend. You are able to attend in person and also join the group virtually. Or, you can do a combination of both in order to work with your schedule.

We do ask that if you attend through a HIPPA compliant video link, you are in a quiet location where you will not be interrupted.

DBT Skills Groups involve a structured curriculum that includes four (4) modules. The modules are taught in a six (6) week course. The modules are Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotion Regulation and Interpersonal Effectiveness.

Each module is designed to teach specific skills that can help individuals:

  • Cope with emotional dysregulation
  • Manage distressing situations
  • Improve communication and relationships, and
  • Regulate your emotions

2. Will I be given any resources along with the sessions?

Yes! Every person that registers for the Skills Group will be given a binder that features dialectical behavior therapy resources to help in the journey of healing.

3. What happens if I miss a session?

We highly recommend you don’t miss a session, and we offer you the ability to attend the session via a HIPPA compliant video connection.

4. Can the DBT Skills Group really help me?

We believe DBT Skills Group to be one of the most effective means of therapy. During the group you will

  • Learn New Skills
  • Learn in a Group Environment
  • Have practice and application of skills learned
  • Receive support and encouragement
  • Increase self-awareness
  • Learn skills to cope with crisis
  • Improve relationships

You’ll be in a supportive and collaborative environment with the best DBT counselors there to guide you every step of the way.