6 Main Points of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), is an adaptive mental health method that gives people practical skills to deal with intense emotions and improves their relationships and overall well-being. Dr Marsha Linehan, a psychologist, founded DBT who started DBT in the late 1980s to form an integrated intervention that drew from the elements of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and mindfulness techniques (Marr, 2020).

DBT was initially created to address borderline personality disorder (BPD), which is characterized by disruptive emotional symptoms like emotional instability and impulsive behaviors. Nevertheless, while the scope of the term has been expanding to deal with various problems related to mental health, it may range from depression to substance abuse, disorders around eating, and post-traumatic responses.

In this article, we look at the six main points of DBT, which involve every process, and how they help persons apply better-coping mechanisms in resuming their lives after the problem. Whether you have faced overcoming grief, interpersonal distress, or difficult life situations, DBT presents specific skills and satisfactory mechanisms that help you combat these problems with greater strength and produce better results in such harsh conditions.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): Six Main Coping Points

So, let’s examine the six main DBT points and see how they can help you stay the course in your desire to achieve more permanence and make positive changes in your life.

1. Mindfulness

Let’s start with the first one, mindfulness. Mindfulness, in turn, forms the core of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT); it defines the central idea of the therapy as one that you must stay present here and now and not judge yourself too harshly.

Mindfulness is a skill that invites people to see their thoughts, emotions, and body sensations for what they are without any emotional sting. Meditation, deep breathing exercises, and other techniques foster mindfulness awareness.

Therefore, individuals will know themselves better and learn to regulate their emotions better. One vital characteristic of mindfulness training is the conscious effort of repetition. Thus, if practiced regularly, mindfulness helps stay focused and builds a strong understanding of internal experiences.

2. Distress Tolerance

Tolerance of distress is one of the DBT core objectives, which aims to teach emotional control strategies and decrypt crisis management tactics. This self-care method replaces the old ways of indulging one’s impulses to avoid confronting distressing feelings with a new set of skills for tolerating such feelings.

Through distress tolerance skills, individuals also learn the techniques of prioritizing enduring the distressing situation impersonally without escalating it. This is a structural element of self-calming that includes such practices as deep breathing, mindfulness exercises, and relaxation.

Furthermore, psychological hardiness trains individuals to endure the pain and consequences of reality and discover effective ways to survive and thrive in emotionally distressing situations. By developing distress tolerance skills, a person can broaden their adaptability and aptitude to help them cope with life’s difficulties securely and consciously.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

3. Emotion Regulation

Emotional regulation is another key part of Dialectical Behavior therapy (DBT). DBT focuses on learning more about one’s feelings, managing them effectively, and coping with situations where one’s emotions overwhelm one.

It differentiates between emotions and controls their triggers so one gets in a position to respond to emotions wisely. The skill of emotional regulation enables humans to face emotions when they become too complex for normal limits and apply different strategies to bring them back to the normal limit of feeling.

The approaches include word restructuring, rethinking negativity in terms of not being too negative, and behavioral caring, such as distracting and problem-solving. Through this trained skill, individuals can manifest calmness, impulse control, and a better overall emotional state, reflected in their social environment.

4. Interpersonal Effectiveness

Interpersonal effectiveness in dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) includes skills for efficiently handling social communication and relationships, which is a crucial part of the therapy.

Also, Interpersonal proficiency is characterized by knowing how to express one’s wants/needs, having appropriate boundaries, and learning to communicate optimistically and create healthy connections with people. It necessarily includes communication skills of self-expression that foster confidence while honoring the rights and limits of other people.

It implies refusing to do things when they aren’t really necessary, being concerned with what one wants and needs, and making deals while quoting. These interpersonal effectiveness skills assist individuals in developing better, more sensual, and fulfilling relationships.

They also enable them to acquire better communication skills and self-respect/ self-confidence when interacting in social situations.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

5. Core Mindfulness

The mindfulness practice that is the cornerstone of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) ensures a stay completely attentive and unified with the current state of being, free of any negative self-judgment. It includes accepting one’s present-moment thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations without prejudice to be found in the here and now rather than wishing to dwell on the past or anticipate the future.

Meditative awareness can be achieved by developing the ‘attitude of willingness, interest, and no consideration for what takes place in a given moment, whether it is pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral.’ By practicing core mindfulness practices like mindfulness meditation, focused or controlled breathing, and body scan exercises, individuals can reach a higher level of self-awareness and improve emotional regulation and adaptability.

The primary goal of mindfulness is to uncover the deeper connection between people and the rest of the world. As a result, a person experiences inner peace, finds patience, and is confident.

6. Walking the Middle Path

The Middle Path in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) seeks to guide individuals to find a balance in how they think, feel their emotions, and behave. The process involves moving between the extremes and reaching a spot that settles one’s emotions and assists in proper decision-making.

The Middle Path is the ultimate lesson that reminds us of the significance of self-awareness and recognizing our views while respecting others’ perspectives. This enhances empathy and understanding in interactions.

It emphasizes flexibility and willingness to compromise; that way, individuals can change their mindset and successfully handle conflicts under any condition. Thus, walking the Middle Path teaches people not to slip into monopolar and dichotomous thought patterns because they trigger emotional chaos, which can be problematic in intimate and emotional relationships.

It is unique as it teaches self-learning and how to deal with problems by being open-minded, tolerant, and able to mind their position with the outlook to overcome problems through compromise.

This middle pathway of life will contribute to an approach that positively connects the external state of balance and harmony with the inside, improving general well-being and life satisfaction.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)


The benefits of a Dialectical Behavior Therapy approach to mental health provision include several environmental treatments, such as social support and music therapy. The DBT approach combines the use of mindfulness skills, emotional regulation, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and middle-way practices, which enable individuals to live meaningful and fulfilling lives regardless of the many challenges encountered during existence.

If DBT appeals to you, consider taking part in examining the six aspects deeper to find out how they work towards giving your life emotional well-being and personal development. If you would like to explore these concepts with a skilled therapist, we can help at Boomerang Counselling Centre. You can book a consultation online here to see if one of our therapists is the right fit for you.

Marr, C. J. (2020). What is the Effectiveness of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy in the Treatment of High-risk Behaviours in Adolescents?: A Systematic Review: The Relationship Between Early Life Stress, Amygdala Reactivity and Coping Behaviour Across the Life Span: An fMRI Study (Doctoral dissertation, University of Exeter (United Kingdom)).


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