What You Can Expect From Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Posted on: 28 December 2019


If you are a person that struggles with borderline personality disorder or other mental health issues, your psychiatrist or counselor may have recommended that you give dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) a try. However, you may find yourself unsure about DBT and whether or not it is the right choice for you. Before you make any decisions or before you start therapy, get to know some of what you can expect from dialectical behavior therapy. Then, you can more easily move forward with your therapy. 

DBT Generally Takes Three Forms

DBT is a type of therapy that has three different forms. The first is a group format and takes on the feel of being in a classroom at school. The counselor that leads the group (which usually meets weekly) will present a new lesson each session and will have the group members do practice exercises to demonstrate those skills or strategies. There will also be homework assigned for group participants to work on throughout the course of the week. 

Individual therapy is another element of DBT. You will continue to meet with your individual counselor weekly if you have one already. If you don't have an individual counselor, your group leader will serve as your individual counselor or they will set you up with one. In individual therapy, you will go over your progress with homework, get help with concepts you don't understand, and do general counseling. 

The third aspect is not always utilized but often is. If you do not see the group leader as your individual counselor, you will also have periodic one-on-one check-ins with your DBT group leader. This can be done in person or over the phone and just allows you to mention how you are feeling about the group, ask any questions you may have, and ensure that you are keeping up with everything going on. 

DBT Focuses on Mindfulness and Emotional Regulation

The people that benefit the most from DBT are those that have difficulties regulating or controlling their emotions. This is because DBT focuses primarily on mindfulness and emotional regulation.

You will learn how to identify and recognize your emotions, take a step back and mindfully assess your emotions, and learn to regulate and control them in the moment. This sounds simple in theory, but takes several small steps and a lot of practice to master, which is what your sessions in group and individual therapy allow you to do.

With these facts about DBT in mind, you can be sure you are ready for what is to come from your new therapy.