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Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) was developed by Marsha Linehan in the 1980s as a treatment program for patients with borderline disorder, ie people with severe emotional vulnerability and instability. The therapy is successfully used in all disorders of emotions, eating disorders, addictions, ADHD, post-traumatic stress disorder and stress disorders.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) covers and extends Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, in particular with mindfulness techniques and meditation techniques. The therapy is called dialectic because it takes up contradictions in human functioning and has developed methods to work constructively with them.

The DBT consists of individually designed therapy and skills training.
In DBT we tackle problems according to their urgency. So first of all, we work on getting the life situation “under control” and then on destabilizing factors or causes. We strive for a dialectical balance: On the one hand, there is acceptance and understanding of the meaning of problematic behaviour in light of individual experiences. On the other hand, there is actively seeking for change through the use of problem-solving skills and other skills necessary for change.

Skills are trained in the following areas to improve the well-being:

  1. Mindfulness: Mindfulness is a special form of attention leading. The current content of the experience is given “consciously”, “at the moment” and “not judgmental” attention. One learns to perceive one’s own feelings and to describe what is or happens. In doing so, one becomes more aware of everyday actions and can direct oneself better. Feeling and understanding come into balance.
  2. Stress tolerance: You learn skills that are fast acting and allow you to endure crises and difficult situations. Emotional tensions, stress and dissociation can thus be controlled without injuring oneself or harming oneself through other behaviours. You learn skills that will work inter-situational and long-term preventive and help you to accept reality. Acceptance is not only important where things cannot be changed, but is the necessary starting point for desired changes.
  3. Dealing with feelings: One learns to recognize feelings and to understand them in their meanings and effects. You learn strategies to regulate feelings, reduce emotional suffering and vulnerability, and give more space to positive feelings.
  4. Interpersonal Skills and Problem Solving Techniques: Several factors can affect social skills: skills deficiencies, disadvantageous thoughts and attitudes, disabling emotions or indecision. One learns skills to build and maintain relationships, to express and realize desires, goals and opinions appropriately and to maintain self-respect.
  5. Self-esteem: You learn to do yourself something good and to allow positive thoughts about yourself, so to make friends with oneself.