Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a skill-based treatment that values both self-acceptance and change and is based on CBT, with greater focus on emotional and social aspects. DBT was developed to help people cope with extreme or unstable emotions and harmful behaviours.
Key differences between CBT and DBT are validation and relationships. DBT teaches you that your experiences are real, and it teaches you how to accept who you are, regardless of challenges or difficult experiences. In times of crisis, you might use certain coping strategies to help you deal with your emotions. Some of these, like self-isolating or avoidance, don’t do much help, though they may help you temporarily feel better. Others, like self-harm, substance use, or angry outbursts, might even cause harm. In addition to CBT skills, you’ll learn skills around managing your emotions, building relationships with others, coping well with problems or distress, acceptance, and mindfulness.
A Toronto DBT therapist will validate the client’s experiences while teaching mindfulness, relationship, communication skills, and techniques to manage overwhelming emotions.