What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a treatment designed for individuals with self-harm behaviors. This can include self-cutting, suicide attempts, urges to suicide, and suicidal thoughts. Other types of self-harm behavior can also be treated through DBT such as aggression towards others, food restriction/binge eating, hair pulling, and skin picking.

The indication and effectiveness of DBT does not depend on a specific diagnosis. DBT is a modification of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and has been researched extensively. DBT is an empirically supported and evidence based treatment. Research of DBT was initially conducted with women who were diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. However, DBT is currently being used to treat people who binge-eat, teenagers who are depressed or suicidal, and adults who have recurrent depression.