Is dialectical behavioural therapy for me?

If you have ever received a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder, then dialectical behavioural therapy (or DBT) is a really good form of treatment. The following is a brief a list of some experiences that you might have had and that DBT can help with:

  • Life feels chaotic and overwhelming even when on the surface you might appear to be coping well. Underneath it feels as though you go from crisis to crisis.
  • You experience your emotions as either on or off. You may have periods where you feel numb and empty. At other times you will experience emotions as intense or extreme. You may feel overwhelmed by feelings of anger or even rage, sadness or anxiety. You might find it hard to control or even predict your emotions from one moment to the next.
  • You cope with life's difficulties in destructive ways. You may end up shopping when you can't afford to, gambling, drinking alcohol or self-harming. 
  • Your relationships with others are difficult. People have unrealistically high expectations of you and you may feel like you let them down. You may feel worried others will abandon you or simply avoid close relationships altogether.
  • You may set yourself very high standards and inevitably fail to meet these standards. When you feel that you fall short in some way, you are likely to become very critical of yourself and give yourself a hard time. 
  • You may have tried another type of therapy and found that it did not help or was too difficult for you to keep going to.

DBT works by targeting the specific difficulties outlined above and those associated with borderline personality disorder. DBT comprises several components including weekly individual therapy, weekly group skills training and between session telephone coaching. Together, each component of the therapy enables individuals to learn new skills in understanding and managing emotions, noticing thoughts and emotions before they become overwhelming and learning relationship skills. DBT is considered a very effective form of treatment for borderline personality disorder and for individuals who have difficulties understanding and managing overwhelming emotions. 

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