Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

DBT was developed by University of Washington therapist Marsha Linehan. It combines CBT with Eastern mindfulness techniques. Linehan made a name for DBT by using it successfully with seriously impulsive and suicidal patients no one else had been able to help. DBT has since been adapted for work with substance abuse, eating disorders, and other problems.

DBT emphasizes a balance between acceptance and change. Acceptance doesn't mean throwing in the towel; rather, it means accepting who you are and what your circumstances are at the current moment. In DBT, you discover ways to nurture this accepting stance while simultaneously working on making changes.

DBT practitioners assume that your eating disorder symptoms - dieting, starving, bingeing, purging - are misguided attempts at emotional management. The focus of DBT work is on finding ways to handle emotions constructively through a balance of acceptance and change. Mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness are all parts of DBT.

(c) 2008 Susan Schullherr