What is Dialectic Behavior Therapy?

If you are seeing a psychiatrist in Maryland, consider asking if dialectic behavior therapy is right for you

Dialectic behavior therapy, like any other form of talk therapy, is designed to help people struggling with their mental health by speaking with a therapist or psychiatrist. Dialectic behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that is designed to help people with anxiety or depression cope with stress and work through their feelings. There are many mental health conditions that can be helped by DBT, especially those that involve lack of control over extreme emotions. If you are looking for a new therapeutic approach to your mental health, you can always consult a psychiatrist in Maryland to help you find out if DBT could help alleviate your symptoms. DBT has helped many that are struggling to take charge of their mental health, so let's learn more about how it works. 

What Can Dialectic Behavior Therapy Treat?

Your psychiatrist in Maryland can determine if DBT is right for your mental health needs

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Struggling with your mental health is difficult, but DBT can help.

Still a relatively new practice, Dialectic Behavior Therapy was first implemented in the 1980s and has been helping patients cope with their emotions ever since. Originally it was developed as a treatment for borderline personality disorder, but has since been adopted to treat many other common forms of mental illness. Your psychiatrist in Maryland can provide more insight as to whether or not DBT will help alleviate your symptoms. Patients suffering from any of the following mental health issues could be good candidates for DBT treatment:

  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Addiction issues
  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia
  • Anxiety
  • Treatment resistant major depressive disorder 
  • Self harm
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

How Does Dialectical Behavior Therapy Work?

Before you consult a psychiatrist in Maryland, let's get into some of the techniques commonly used in dialectic behavior therapy

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Dialectic behavior therapy works with most types of counselling, including group counselling.

Starting as an offshoot of cognitive behavioral therapy, a common technique used by therapists, DBT builds off of the principles of CBT while tailoring the treatment toward symptom management. DBT can be used in both one on one and group therapy settings and has been proven effective on most types of people living with the disorders we listed. The principles of DBT focus on trying to slow down thoughts, recognizing when symptoms are present, and working to minimize those symptoms as they appear. There are four tenets to DBT therapy that include distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, emotional regulation and mindfulness. These four skills are honed over the course of DBT therapy sessions, helping those with persistent symptoms deconstruct and control their emotions. After patients learn these skills, studies have shown that there is a decrease in severe symptoms like self-harm.

What Are the Expected Results of Dialectic Behavior Therapy?

By working with your therapist, you can reap the benefits of DBT and start managing your symptoms

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By minimizing symptoms of mental illness, DBT helps people get back to their baseline self.

If you decide to pursue dialectic behavior therapy with your therapist or psychiatrist, you might be wondering what results to expect from the treatment. DBT can have many outcomes that are beneficial to the patient and help them manage their symptoms on a daily basis. For example, many therapists will focus on self acceptance and cultivating a desire to change. While these principles may seem directly contradictory, they actually work hand in hand to help the patient build confidence and recognize thought patterns that can be changed for the better. For example, a therapist may concede with the patient that their responses are valid and that they are not simply acting irrationally. The therapist’s reassurance allows for the patient to further explore the “why” of their undesirable reactions and make progress by changing their thought patterns. By working with a therapist to change thought and behavior patterns, the patient is able to structure their life in a way that helps them avoid the negative symptoms of their condition.

Is Dialectic Behavior Therapy Effective?

DBT has been proven effective for many disorders regardless of age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or race/ethnicity

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Mental health is a journey. DBT can help you get to a better place so you can do the things you love.

DBT has been used for many years and has proven to be a very effective treatment option for many individuals regardless of outside factors. For those suffering from borderline personality disorder, DBT has made great strides in helping patients manage suicidal ideations. Studies have shown that DBT decreased suicide risk for those with borderline personality disorder by up to 75%. Though most studies have been conducted on decreasing suicidal ideation, there is also evidence that DBT greatly decreases symptoms of PTSD and anxiety.


If you or someone you know is struggling with borderline personality disorder, PTSD, major depression or any of the other disorders we listed, you may want to explore DBT. Ask a licensed psychiatrist in Maryland if DBT could be a good solution for your mental health care. It is never too late to try a new technique in therapy, so feel free to consult your provider and discuss the potential benefits of DBT. If you are in need of additional help managing your mental health or are considering DBT as a potential solution, you can contact The Psych Associates of Maryland and schedule an appointment with a licensed professional.

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