Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Approaches used in DBT are similar to interventions/approaches used in any of the other therapies; Behavioral Activation (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy), acceptance-based Cognitive Behavior Therapy, and acceptance-based Coping Skills Training. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – Metacognitive Interventions and Self-Monitoring of Desired Behaviors Motivational Interviewing – Mot. Focused Interventions, Stress Inoculation Training (SIT) – Interventions to avoid over-reliance on emotion regulation strategies such as suppression.

Dialectical behavioral therapy is similar to cognitive behavioral therapy as both combine behavioral and cognitive strategies to treat anxiety disorders. In both approaches, the person is viewed as a whole person rather than a collection of symptoms for which a cause can be identified (Ben-Porath et al., 2020). Both focus on the problem of the person’s anxiety while also developing the person’s skills for dealing with it (Reilly et al., 2020). DBT also attempts to correct distortions of thinking, while CBT does not.

Learning to control behaviors and emotions is important and could be done through mindfulness-based strategies. During times of stress, anxiety, or overwhelming feeling, people with mood disorders often turn to self-harming behaviors such as substance abuse and self-harm (Teixeira et al., 2020). Mindfulness helps individuals gain control over their mental state by maintaining a sense of focus and nonjudgmental awareness of their thoughts, emotions, and sensations. It allows people to find appropriate solutions to problems without letting emotions or strong urges take over.

Even though people may find it challenging to be aware of the present moment because they are overwhelmed by distressing thoughts or feelings, mindfulness can be trained. Practicing mindfulness helps people notice when they are distracted by their disturbance and focus on the present moment (Peterson et al., 2020). An individual’s skills through mindfulness help that person in times of emotional difficulty and in day-to-day life.


Ben-Porath, D., Duthu, F., Luo, T., Gonidakis, F., Compte, E. J., & Wisniewski, L. (2020). Dialectical behavioral therapy: An update and review of the existing treatment models adapted for adults with eating disorders. Eating Disorders, 28(2), 101-121.

Reilly, E. E., Orloff, N. C., Luo, T., Berner, L. A., Brown, T. A., Claudat, K., Kaye, W. H., & Anderson, L. K. (2020). Dialectical behavioral therapy for the treatment of adolescent eating disorders: a review of existing work and proposed future directions. Eating Disorders, 28(2), 122-141.

Peterson, C. M., Van Diest, A. M. K., Mara, C. A., & Matthews, A. (2020). Dialectical behavioral therapy skills group as an adjunct to family-based therapy in adolescents with restrictive eating disorders. Eating Disorders, 28(1), 67-79.

Teixeira, P. J., Marques, M. M., Silva, M. N., Brunet, J., Duda, J. L., Haerens, L., La Guardia, J., Lindwall, M., Lonsdale, C., Markland, D., Michie, S., Moller, A. C., Ntoumanis, N., Patrick, H., Reeve, J., Ryan, R. M., Sebire, S. J., Standage, M., Vansteenkiste, M., … & Hagger, M.S. (2020). A classification of motivation and behavior change techniques used in self-determination theory-based interventions in health contexts. Motivation Science, 6(4), 438-455.

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1. PsychologyWriting. "Dialectical Behavioral Therapy." September 18, 2023. https://psychologywriting.com/dialectical-behavioral-therapy/.


PsychologyWriting. "Dialectical Behavioral Therapy." September 18, 2023. https://psychologywriting.com/dialectical-behavioral-therapy/.