Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) was developed at the University of Washington by Psychologist Dr. Marsha Linehan. Originally designed as a therapy to treat para-suicidal behavior, self-harm, and borderline personality disorder, it has since been shown as helpful for a number of other problems including eating disorders, substance abuse, anxiety, and depression.
DBT incorporates elements of classical philosophy (Dialectics), behavioral psychology, and Zen Buddhism.
Dialectics is the idea that opposites can coexist in the world and be balanced by some form of overarching principle or synthesis which gives them both validity. In this way, clients are taught to balance the extreme black and white thinking that often leads to problems in their lives and relationships.
Behavioral psychology is based on the understanding that human behavior is governed by a set of contingencies or rules that determine the likelihood of a particular behavior occurring. Clients are taught to analyze their own behavior patterns in a systematic way, and identify the reinforcers that are maintaining these behaviors. Once the reinforcers in a particular situation are identified then clients are in a much better position to implement strategies that can successfully create positive change.
The Buddhist influence in DBT is seen in the use of mindfulness meditative practice. Clients learn a method that enables them to be more in touch with their emotions and thoughts yet at the same time to not be controlled by them. This state of mind is called wise mind. When the client is consistently able to enter into wise mind they will be more grounded, make better judgments, and be less reactive emotionally.
Our DBT program combines these theoretical elements in a practical manner that gives clients the skills they need to effectively manage their issues.