Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) was developed by psychologist Marsha M. Linehan in the 1980s to better treat personality disorder. The term dialectical refers to the integration or synthesis of opposites. Dialectical behavioral therapy has four main components: individual treatment, skills training group, consultation team and phone coaching. It is effective in treating other disorders such as eating disorders, PTSD, substance dependence and depression.
The skills taught in this type of therapy include: emotional regulation, distress tolerance, mindfulness and interpersonal effectiveness. This therapy focuses on the opposite strategies of change and acceptance and is used typically to treat clients with multiple problems.
There are four stages of treatment with Dialectical Behavioral Therapy that are worked in stages and defined by the severity of behavior. Stage one pertains to the client’s behavior being out of control. The goal is to move out of this self-destructive stage and achieve behavioral control. Stage two is quiet desperation and the goal is to move to a state of full emotional experiencing. Stage three is learning to live. Here life goals are defined, happiness and self-respect learned. The fourth stage is finding a deeper spiritual existence.