Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): More Than Just Coping Skills!

By Stacy Walker posted 10-16-2020 02:39 PM


Life is hard, and we all cope in different ways.  At times, however, it might feel as if things would be better if we only had a secret weapon. That’s where DBT comes in: a little-known, formidable tool that will help you conquer anything and everything life throws at you.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy—or DBT—is the ultimate life skills program. When you need coping skills that are effective and that last, then you want DBT.  With extensive research behind it, DBT is well-validated across multiple conditions, symptoms, and cohorts (see BehavioralTech).

I find that the DBT skills I have learned are vital for my well being. Each day I use the skills of radical acceptance and mindfulness and they have given me a new way to live. I can sit in traffic and smile. I can laugh more, breathe deeper, and practice loving kindness for myself and others. 

These daily benefits, and more, are my motivation for creating the DBT program at Harmony Harbor Counseling. We offer DBT skills training groups for teens, families, adults, and advanced DBT students. DBT was initially developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan to help those who suffer from borderline personality disorder, but you do not need to have a mental health diagnosis to benefit from learning DBT skills.  Anyone can benefit from DBT! It is even being taught in schools now. Notably, DBT has robust findings in decreasing suicidal thoughts, self-harm behaviors, in-patient days in the hospital, anger, anxiety, depression, and more. In turn, and just as valuable—if not more—it has created and increased peace, hope, healing, and inspiration while decreasing self-destructive behaviors and emotional dysregulation.

DBT delivers an inimitable treatment that combines the tenets of Cognitive Behavior Therapy and the philosophies of Zen Buddhism. Dr. Linehan studied with a Zen-master for years to learn the underpinnings and core teachings of mindfulness so that she could bring the practice of mindfulness to a lay-person. Furthermore, Dr. Linehan explains that DBT provides the skills to help build a life worth living. Learning to control one’s emotions instead of letting them control you, and being able to navigate a crisis without making it worse, are examples of topics covered.

You will learn quickly that DBT is not your normal therapy program!  A comprehensive DBT program offers key features that are refreshingly unlike traditional therapeutic settings.  Primarily taught in a group setting, DBT has been likened to attending a course in emotional and relationship training.  It can be taught in an out-patient setting, and in less than 2 hours per week, this didactic approach sets the stage for learning skills that change lives. Even more, DBT clients receive phone coaching on how to best use skills in real-time; since we all know that crises are not pre-planned, and therefore, often fall outside of the therapy hour!

A recent graduate of our program stated, “DBT has changed my life.  I was so lost when I started the program, and today, just 6 months later, my life is completely changed.” Learning to move through life with loving kindness and awareness is possible.  So if you are looking for that secret weapon to better manage life, build kinder relationships, and feel more in control of your emotions, DBT skills training may be exactly what you need.

To learn more about our DBT program (click here) or call (941) 312-6412.

We are trained by Behavioral Tech®.