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Dialectical Behavior Therapy teaches skills that help reduce the intensity and frequency of overwhelming emotions, while also offering guidance for navigating these distressing emotional moments. DBT skills are divided into four skill sets: Mindfulness & the Middle Path Distress Tolerance Emotion Regulation Interpersonal Effectiveness Together, these skill sets help build the foundation for a life that feels more meaningful and worthwhile. 

Dialectical Behavior Therapy is a researched-based behavioral therapy. DBT was designed to treat chronic suicidal ideation, self injury, and became noted as the most effective treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder. Research has also shown efficacy in treatment for Depressive Disorders, Mood Disorders, Substance Use Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, Eating Disorders, and a variety of self defeating behaviors.


For those who feel particularly overwhelmed with emotions, practicing different ways to manage feelings enhances self-control and self-expression. DBT treatment focuses on four skill modules in order to reach a balanced and fulfilling life.

Mindfulness and the Middle Path


Mindfulness is about paying attention to the present moment, non-judgmentally and without attachment It is a core concept within DBT that promotes full awareness of your present moment (i.e. thoughts, feelings and physical sensations) without judgment and without trying to change it. Mindfulness and the Middle Path strives to:

  • Focus the mind

  • Direct attention

  • Achieve a better understanding of feelings

  • Validate self and others

  • Recognize the dialectic



Distress Tolerance


Helps you get through a crisis and cope with ongoing stress. Pain is a part of life, and being unable to deal with pain may lead to impulsive or destructive behavior. The goal of Distress Tolerance is to help people better cope with painful or distressing moments in more effective ways that won’t make the situation worse.


Emotion Regulation


Emotion Regulation helps sensitive people not be overwhelmed with their emotions. Practicing ways to manage feelings enhances self-control. It concentrates on taking control of emotions. Difficulty controlling extreme emotions can lead to impulsive or ineffective behaviors. The goals of Emotion Regulation are to:

  • Better understand the emotions you experience

  • Reduce emotional vulnerability

  • Decrease emotional suffering




Interpersonal Effectiveness


Addresses self-respect, obtaining goals, saying no, making friends, and maintaining or ending relationships.The focus of Interpersonal Effectiveness is building and maintaining positive relationships. This module introduces tools to express beliefs and needs, set limits and negotiate solutions to problems without threatening relationships with others. Interpersonal Effectiveness skills can help in:

  • Taking care of relationships

  • Balancing your needs with the demands and needs of others

  • Balancing things you want to do with things you ought to do

  • Building/developing mastery of self and self-respect

Miller, Rathus, & Landsman (1999). Adapted from Marsha M. Linehan’s Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder, Guilford Press, 1993.

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