Dialectical Behavior Therapy to Manage Stress and Improve Well-being

Dialectical refers to the process of attempting to reconcile seemingly contradictory information. For instance, it may seem paradoxical to accept who you are while still making behavioral changes. However, DBT suggests that you can accomplish both of these objectives at the same time. A systematic psychotherapy program with a significant educational component, dialectical behavior therapy teaches patients how to manage strong emotions and navigate social interactions. 

DBT has developed into an empirically supported therapeutic strategy that is used for a wide range of conditions. Common settings for DBT use are as follows:

  • Patients receiving group therapy learn behavioral skills in a group environment.
  • Individual treatment with a qualified practitioner in which the patient’s acquired behavioral skills are customized to address specific obstacles in their own lives.
  • Through phone coaching, clients can get advice on how to handle a challenging circumstance they are currently facing by calling the therapist in between sessions.

There are four phases of dialectical behavior therapy treatment:

Stage 1: The most severe and self-destructive behaviors are addressed first in the early stages of treatment. This could involve problems like suicide thoughts or actions or self-harm.

Stage 2: After that, the focus of treatment shifts to problems that have an impact on the individual’s quality of life, like their capacity for emotional control, interpersonal effectiveness, and capacity to withstand discomfort.

Stage 3: The following phase is to concentrate on problems pertaining to relationships with others and self-worth.

Stage 4: At this stage, the purpose of treatment is to help patients make the most of their lives by assisting them in pursuing their goals, fostering stronger connections, and experiencing greater enjoyment.

Which methods does DBT use?

DBT teaches the four fundamental skills covered above using three different therapeutic modalities. 

Some people think that part of what makes Dialectical Behavior Therapy so successful is this blend of strategies.

Individualized treatment

An hour of one-on-one therapy is often required for DBT each week. You and your therapist will discuss anything you’re attempting to manage or work on during these sessions. During this time, your therapist will also help you strengthen your abilities and overcome particular obstacles.

Phone mentoring

In addition, some therapists provide phone coaching if you need more assistance in between one-on-one sessions. Having this in your back pocket could be beneficial if you frequently feel overwhelmed or simply need a little additional help. Your therapist will walk you through applying your DBT skills to address the current difficulty over the phone.

Skills training

DBT uses groups for skills training that resemble group therapy sessions. Typically, skill groups meet for two to three hours once a week. While DBT programs typically consist of 24 weeks of meetings, many extend the program’s duration to a full year by repeating the skills training. You will study and practice each skill in a skills group, working through scenarios with other members of your group. This is among DBT’s essential elements.

Speaking with a professional who has received DBT training is the best way to determine if it’s the right approach for you. It is necessary to speak with a healthcare provider or mental health professional who is trained in DBT if you believe that you or a loved one could benefit from the technique. That being said, locating DBT therapists isn’t always simple. You can also request a referral to a DBT specialist colleague from your provider, your present therapist, or another reputable mental health practitioner. Online therapists that provide DBT therapy may also be found.

DBT helps patients learn skills in four key areas:


Being mindful enhances your capacity for present-moment living. You can lessen your struggles, regain control over your life, and enhance your general health when you can accept your current circumstances in this manner.

Tolerance for Distress

Your ability to tolerate stress allows you to navigate a really trying circumstance without getting worse. These abilities assist you in going “back to baseline” so that you can approach problem-solving rationally.

Control of Emotions

You can control strong emotional swings by practicing emotion regulation. You can lessen the discomfort that these changes can bring about once you acquire these abilities. You can increase your resilience and have tools to utilize in the present when you have emotional management abilities.

Interpersonal Effectiveness

Being interpersonally effective facilitates communication. You may boost your self-esteem and fortify your relationships by mastering these abilities.

It typically takes dialectical behavior treatment anywhere from six months to a year. But every individual is different, and mental health issues are multifaceted. After a year of DBT, you shouldn’t anticipate being totally symptom-free or free of harmful behaviors. Particularly for borderline personality disorder, many therapists feel that treatment can take several years.

The length of time it might take to improve your emotional regulation and quality of life should not depress you. What matters is that you are asking for assistance. Any advancement is worthwhile.

Final Words

Dialectical Behavior Therapy provides beneficial methods and techniques for stress reduction and improving general health. People can build emotional stability, resilience, and healthier relationships by combining mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion control, and interpersonal effectiveness. When combined with other treatment modalities or utilized alone, DBT gives people the tools they need to deal with life’s obstacles more confidently and easily.