What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?Dialectical behavior therapy, or DBT, is a form of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) that was originally developed to help the most severely mentally ill and depressed patients accept therapy. It relies on the same concept in CBT that examines the relationship between our thoughts, feelings, and actions, but in DBT the emphasis is first on acceptance rather than change. There is also an emphasis on mindfulness, 'being in the moment,' and relaxation techniques such as yoga. These are combined with a great deal of validation and encouragement from the therapist. The word 'dialectical' means acting through opposing forces, and this word refers to a few different opposing concepts in DBT:
- The therapy combines traditional Western psychotherapy techniques with Eastern religious philosophy.
- Patients must learn that life, thoughts, and feelings are not all black and white -- there are many shades of grey.
- The therapy works on accepting and validating the patient for being where they are at the moment while also encouraging them to change for the better.
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