Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that places primary emphasis on the psychosocial aspect of therapy. Intended as a means to better treat chronically suicidal individuals and those diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD), Marsha M. Linehan developed DBT in the late 1980s. The purpose of DBT is to teach individuals applicable skills that enable them to effectively manage painful emotions and decrease conflict in relationships. Dialectical Behavior Therapy is composed of four components that include: weekly individual therapy sessions, weekly group skills classes, 24/7 skills coaching with the therapist and DBT Team Consult for the therapists. Research shows that DBT has the best result if patients stay in treatment for a minimum of one year; our program asks that patients commit to an initial six months and then renew their commitment at the end of each six month period.
Four DBT Modules
DBT group skills training sessions specifically focuses on providing distinct therapeutic skills in the following four key areas:
- Mindfulness: the practice of being fully present and aware in the moment
- Distress tolerance: becoming tolerant of pain in difficult situations instead of attempting to change it
- Emotion regulation: decreasing emotional impulsivity, learning to manage and shift intense, problematic emotions
- Interpersonal effectiveness: authentically advocating for one’s wants and needs in a relationship in a way that is both self-respecting and non-damaging
Dialectical behavior therapy provides a somewhat differentiated teaching strategy when introducing and teaching DBT skills. This is helpful because DBT is mindful of the fact that all individuals learn and retain information differently. For example, some individuals may be primarily visual learners, while others may be experiential learners. Through the three different components of DBT (individual therapy sessions, DBT group skills training sessions, and skills coaching) the unique and nuanced needs of each individual are sure to be aptly accommodated. Further, DBT group skills training session facilitators assign homework, including DBT worksheets, to be completed by participants when they are not in session.
DBT worksheets are an integral tool used throughout the DBT process. In order to fully implement the information addressed during DBT group skills training sessions, participants are provided with relevant DBT worksheets that they are expected to complete. There are certain DBT worksheets that directly relate to specific topics covered in the different DBT group skills training sessions.
As such, there are a variety of DBT worksheets that are assigned at different times throughout the program. There are some random DBT worksheet templates that are easily accessible on the Internet. For individuals interested in accessing a more complete, chronologically organized set of DBT worksheets, please feel free to refer to any of the following DBT supportive resources and publications:
- DBT Skills Training Manual and DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, 2nd Edition by Marsha M. Linehan
- The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook (A New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook) by Matthew McKay
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy Workbook: The 4 DBT Skills to Overcome Anxiety by Learning How to Manage Your Emotions. A Practical Guide to Recovering from Borderline Personality Disorder by David Lawson
- The Expanded Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Training Manual: DBT for Self-Help and Individual & Group Treatment Settings 2nd Edition by Lane Pederson and Cortney Pederson
DBT relies on supportive resources, including workbooks and worksheets, to help reinforce the skills taught during group DBT skills training sessions and to provide additional opportunities for participants to continue to practice implementing the learned skills.
The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above as a means to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.