Since the first publication of the DBT treatment manual in 1993, studies have investigated the effectiveness of DBT for treating various symptoms and disorders. Initial studies mainly focused on applying DBT skills to adults with borderline personality disorder, self-destructive behaviors, and suicidal crisis. However, recent studies have shown that DBT is also effective for treating eating disorders, impulsive behaviors, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, addiction, and other emotional or behavioral difficulties.
DBT is an effective and inclusive treatment that could support children, adolescents, and adults with emotional difficulties.
DBT is composed of scientifically proven behavioral skills. The main goal of the DBT skills training group is for the clinicians to help their clients apply these behavioral skills to their everyday lives. The participants of the group learn the DBT skills in each class, practice the skills outside of the group, and record how he/she practiced the skills using separate worksheets.
During the DBT skills training group, clients learn to acquire the skills in the following four modules within a six-month period: mindfulness skills, interpersonal effectiveness skills, emotion regulation skills, and distress tolerance skills. In the standard DBT program, the clients learn each module twice over 12 months. The Walking the Middle Path module is an individual module in DBT for Adolescents, whereas it is included in the Interpersonal Effectiveness module in DBT for Adults.
– The goal of the mindfulness module is to reduce emotional suffering, increase happiness, and increase control over our behaviors. The core mindfulness skills are to observe, describe, and participate (WHAT skills) as well as doing this non-judgmentally, one-mindfully, and effectively (HOW skill).
– The interpersonal effectiveness module involves skills to make new relationships, strengthen current relationships, and solve interpersonal conflicts. Participants learn skills like DEAR MAN (Describe, Express, Assert, Reinforce, Mindful, Appear Confident, and Negotiate) which they can apply when asking for what they want while maintaining self-respect and respect for the other person.
– The Walking the Middle Path module teaches participants how to validate one’s own perspective and another person’s perspective at the same time and to think and act dialectically.
– The skills in the emotion regulation module can be applied to reduce emotional suffering and intensity as well as to change emotional reaction. Understanding our emotions, opposite action, and other emotion regulation skills are included in this module.
– The distress tolerance module consists of skills for crisis survival and for accepting reality, which would help participants to reduce the behavior triggering the crisis. This module also includes skills to help addiction problems through dialectical abstinence.