DBT: Dialectical Behavioural Therapy
DBT is an intensive, long term psychological therapy for people struggling with intense, overwhelming emotions and complex mental health difficulties.
Often people coming to DBT experience behavioural patterns such as self harm, suicidal behaviour, binge eating, and substance abuse. In DBT, we understand these patterns as coping strategies. They are often a 'solution' to unbearable experiences. Unfortunately, coping in these ways often has unintended consequences, such as relationship difficulties, negative feelings about oneself, and shame. In this way, problems can inadvertently escalate and get more complicated over time.
Whilst we start by working to change these behaviours that are no longer serving you, DBT is an emotion focused approach. In DBT we aim to help you develop a wise way of working with your emotions, so you can build a life you feel is worth living.
DBT was originally developed for people diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (also called Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder), though this diagnosis is not necessary for this therapy to be helpful. Since it was developed in the early 1990s, DBT has been shown to be helpful for various difficulties (e.g. substance abuse, eating disorder). DBT has an excellent evidence base and is recommended in the NICE guidelines for BPD.
DBT is a multi component therapy, including:
- Weekly 1:1 sessions with your individual DBT therapist,
- Weekly group skills training sessions,
- Telephone coaching to help skills generalisation, available 7/7.
- A consultation team for therapists.
Unfortunately, it is common for people who need DBT to have also experienced serious, traumatic events in their lives. In some cases, you might also be experiencing symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD/ CPTSD). If this is the case, we can use a specialist form of DBT, called DBT-PE, which will help you safely work through your traumatic experiences and reclaim your life.
To have a conversation about whether DBT/ DBT PE might be a helpful approach for you, get in touch and let’s consider this together.