Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) originated as a treatment for chronically suicidal patients and those experiencing Borderline Personality Disorder. Since then, DBT has been found to be useful in treating a range of concerns that benefit from increased mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotional regulation (including impulse control), and interpersonal effectiveness. DBT in its full form follows a certain structure that includes group skills classes in addition to individual therapy. Many patients benefit from attending both components of this therapy, though others are satisfied learning the skills portion of therapy within their individual counseling sessions.
Patients in DBT learn how to implement a variety of skills into their daily lives. An example of one skill is to learn various forms of distraction that are useful when one is feeling overwhelmed by their emotions and want to escape them temporarily. To increase adaptive distraction, patients learn the ACCEPTS acronym, which helps summarize various helpful distraction methods such as Activities, Contributing, Comparisons, opposite Emotions, Pushing away, other Thoughts, other Sensations. Another example of a skills learned is DEAR MAN, which is a method for communicating with others when there is something that you want to get from them. So instead of yelling, demanding, or otherwise having an unhelpful conversation with someone, a person in DBT would learn to Describe, Express, Assert, Reinforce, stay Mindful, Appear confident, and Negotiate. These are but a few of the wide range of skills that patients in DBT have opportunities to learn and to implement in their life to increase stability, peace, and well-being.