DBT is a hybrid approach consisting of elements such as cognitive behavioural therapy (with the emphasis on the here and now), dialectical thinking (emphasising the limitations of linear ideas), Zen Buddhism (with the key concept of mindfulness) and metaphorical thinking (with the goal of viewing the situations practically).
The aim of DBT is to create a practical way to help those who otherwise may remain resistant to treatment.
DBT accepts and works with the fact that some people, due to environment and/or biology, react abnormally to emotional stimulation. Their levels of arousal rise very quickly and peak at a higher level than the average individual, because, due to their past experiences, they do not have a method of coping with these intense and often sudden surges of emotion.
DBT targets behaviours in a descending hierarchy in the following order:
1) Decreasing high-risk suicidal behaviours 2) Decreasing therapy-interfering behaviours and responses 3) Decreasing behaviours that interfere with quality of life 4) Decreasing, and addressing, post-traumatic stress responses 5) Enhancing self-respect 6) Acquiring behavioural skills learned in group therapy (the four shown above) 7) Focusing on additional goals set by patient
DBT is effective in treating patients with borderline personality disorder. It is also effective in treating people with ‘spectrum mood disorders’, including self-harm. Recent research also suggests DBT is effective in treating people with chemical dependencies, as well as survivors of sexual abuse.