Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a treatment designed specifically for individuals with self-harm behaviors, such as self-cutting, suicide thoughts, urges to suicide, and suicide attempts. Many clients with these behaviors meet criteria for a disorder called borderline personality (BPD). It is not unusual for individuals diagnosed with BPD to also struggle with other challenges -- depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, eating disorders, or alcohol and drug abuse. DBT is a modification of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) developed by Marsha Linehan, Ph.D. It is important to note that DBT is an “empirically-supported treatment.” That means it has been researched in clinical trials, just as new medications should be researched to determine whether or not they work better than a placebo (sugar pill). While the research on DBT was conducted initially with women who were diagnosed with BPD, DBT is now being used for people who binge-eat, teenagers who are depressed and suicidal, and older clients who become depressed again and again.