Behavioral Components of DBT
DBT therapy sessions are typically divided into four areas or skillsets: core mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.
These DBT skills aim to empower clients with the ability to recognize and identify their emotions. In mindfulness practices, the emphasis is not on changing oneself, but on learning to accept and be comfortable with what is. Becoming aware of the flow of emotions without seeking to change them is a critical first step in being better able to weather their waves.
Many people who choose DBT struggle with an intensity to their Emotions regulation that can make them feel out of control and like they are being propelled into impulsive and destructive behaviors. Distress tolerance aims to help people feel more in control of their emotional experience and behaviors by learning how to sit with and soothe intense emotions, rather than reacting from overwhelm or desperation to escape their emotions.
Emotional regulation weaves more of CBT’s techniques into the DBT skills and philosophies, seeking to empower clients with a greater understanding of their triggers, emotional reactions, and how to ride out strong emotions without acting on them.
Interpersonal effectiveness seeks to take the dialectical behavior therapy skills learned in the previous three modules and apply them to the client’s specific situation. Here, people learn how to identify and communicate their wants healthily and respectfully. This section also helps individuals learn how to deal with difficult people, how to say no, and how to repair relationships.