Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) is a specific type of psychotherapy that builds upon existing cognitive behavioural therapy approaches. DBT emphasizes regulating emotions and behaviours and was initially developed for people diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder. Its use has expanded for many other disorders and conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance use disorder, and many others.
DBT was founded on both dialectical and biosocial theories. Dialectical theory postulates that two completely opposite things can exist at the same time. For example, you may love somebody, but there may also things that you dislike about them. Biosocial theory postulates that regulating emotions effectively varies depending on the social environment, a person's biological vulnerabilities, and the interaction between the two.
Occupational therapists who practice comprehensive DBT programs use individualized psychotherapy and work with clients to address specific needs and understand and develop appropriate behaviour patterns. DBT programs may involve Skills Training Groups. These groups' overall goal is to enable people to recognize and accept their behaviours, thoughts, and feelings as valid and equip them with the skills and knowledge to regulate their behaviours and emotions effectively. Examples of skills that occupational therapists may choose to educate and coach clients on include mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotional regulation and interpersonal effectiveness. When deciding to use DBT with a particular client, occupational therapists should examine the research data with clients similar to problem areas, diagnoses, or characteristics to the client in question. Clinicians should always attempt to use evidence-based practice when working with clients.
Reference: Chapman A. L. (2006). Dialectical behavior therapy: current indications and unique elements. Psychiatry (Edgmont (Pa. : Township)), 3(9), 62–68.