What is DBT? 

Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) is a type of talking therapy. It’s based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), but it’s specially adapted for people who feel emotions very intensely. 

The aim of DBT is to help you: 

  • understand and accept your difficult feelings 
  • learn skills to manage them 
  • become able to make positive changes in your life. 

‘Dialectical’ means trying to understand how two things that seem opposite could both be true. For example, accepting yourself and changing your behaviour might feel contradictory. But DBT teaches that it’s possible for you to achieve both these goals together. 

“Before DBT, I felt like the only solution was suicide… through learning  various skills from DBT I can ride the waves of my depression rather than  letting them swallow me.” 

What’s the difference between DBT and CBT? 

CBT focuses on helping you to change unhelpful ways of thinking and behaving. 

DBT does this too, but it differs from CBT in that it also focuses on accepting who you are at the same time. DBT also usually involves more group work than CBT. A DBT therapist will expect and encourage you to work hard to make positive changes.


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