Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

Dialectical behaviour therapy is a type of cognitive behavioural psychotherapy that was developed originally to help people with a borderline personality disorder. But as it developed over time, it is not used for treating various other disorders and health issues as well. It is often used when other therapies don’t seem to be working on the client. The treatment focuses on problem-solving and acceptance-bases strategies. Most of the people who are being treated with the help of DBT are difficult to treat in many scenarios.

How to find a DBT Therapist

If you are looking to find the perfect DBT Therapist it is crucial to make sure that they have the appropriate qualifications, knowledge and experience. At Expat Therapy 4U we only accept therapists who have full professional proficiency in English and are highly experienced in working with people from culturally diverse backgrounds. The clinicians we approve share our values and commitment to provide high quality therapy to the expatriate community in the private sector across Europe and online worldwide. We strongly believe that therapy changes lives, and being accredited ensures all our therapists are qualified to a high standard. You can find a DBT Therapist who is insured to practice and accredited with a recognised membership body online here.

What is Dialectical Behaviour Therapy?

As of this moment, dialectical behaviour therapy is used to treat serious and chronic mental illnesses. It is a type of psychotherapy or talks therapy in which the cognitive behavioural approach is used to treat the client. The main focus of this theory is that people are prone to react aggressively and intensely towards certain scenarios that might be found in family, friends, and romantic relationships. The DBT theory believes that some people have this tendency of showing extra sensitive reactions to such arousing situations and they take much time to get back to their normal states.

People diagnosed with borderline personality disorder show extreme swings in their emotions and always seem to be jumping from one crisis to another. Very people can understand their situation and that’s why most of the society and family members invalidate their behaviour. That’s why DBT was first designed to deal with a borderline personality disorder but now it has widened its scope.

How does DBT work?

DBT is influenced by the concept of balancing the opposites. The therapist works with the client to handle two perspectives at once, negating the white and black thinking. The basis of this approach is acceptance and change. Following are the basic components of DBT:

  • Generalisation

Various techniques are used by the therapist to encourage the client to use the learned skills in all the settings possible. They must use their skills at school, at home, at work, or in society. This way they will be able to manage to behave in a certain way in every setting no matter where they are.

  • Support Oriented

It helps the client in identifying the strengths and weaknesses. Through becoming aware of one’s self, the person can become able to face challenges of life in a better way.

  • Collaborative

DBT works with constant collaboration between the client and the therapist. People are encouraged to work out their issues with the therapist and the therapist tries consistently to make the relationship work. In DBT, the clients are asked to complete homework assignments, to try new ways of interacting with people in different settings, and to practise techniques to be calm in a crisis. These tasks are checked from time to time to see the progress of the client.

  • Cognitive-based

DBT helps clients see how their thoughts, perceptions, and beliefs are making their life hard for themselves. When they think to themselves that they have to be perfect at everything, or if they get angry, they will be the most hated person. Such thought patterns are shaping their behaviours and they must replace these thoughts with the positive ones such as ‘I don’t have to be perfect at everything, nobody is’.

Who can benefit from DBT?

The main focus of the DBT is to treat high risk and difficult to handle patients. It can include clients with multiple diagnosis and serious conditions. It was initially designed to treat suicidal symptoms and borderline personality disorder. But now, it has been widened for other issues as well. These issues can be related to personality, relationships, emotional wellbeing, and work.

People who have borderline personality disorder face difficulty in regulating their emotions. They show instability in the following aspects; thinking, behaviour, moods, self-image, and relationships. They can also show impulsive behaviours such as substance abuse, self-injury, risky sex, legal troubles, and homelessness.

Researchers have found that DBT can be effective in treating other mental health issues as well, such as:

  • ADHD
  • Mood disorder
  • Binge Eating
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

What to expect from attending DBT sessions?

Generally, the DBT sessions have two main components:

  • Individual weekly sessions

Every week the person is taken into the therapy to discuss the issues that happened in the past week and the troubles that are present. Among all the issues, if there are suicidal thoughts or related behavioural pattern, these issues are treated first. The issues related to the quality of life and improvement towards a better life are also discussed in DBT weekly sessions. Individual weekly sessions also focus on dealing with post-traumatic stress response and encourage the client to be confident. During these sessions, the client and the therapist work along with each other towards better social skills.

  • Weekly Group Sessions

It is generally a 2.5-hour session which is led by a trained DBT specialist. In these group sessions, four basic modules of DBT are followed. These modules are interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and mindfulness.

What are some of the strategies used in DBT?

The DBT therapist uses the following strategies to help people change their behaviours:

  • Mindfulness

Clients are taught to live in the moment where they can learn how to control their reaction at the very moment of crisis. At the time of crisis, you can stop and focus on your thinking process and the effect of your behaviour on the surroundings.

  • Distress Tolerance

It meant accepting yourself and the current situation. You learn to survive a crisis by using some techniques such as: improving the moment, self-soothing, distraction, and thinking about good and bad.

  • Emotional Regulation

It involves learning the skills to induce powerful feelings. You can identify and change your emotions by using these techniques. Using this, you will have a better emotional experience where you are very well aware of your emotions.

  • Interpersonal Effectiveness

It makes an individual more assertive in a relationship. It includes learning to express emotions and saying no while keeping the relationship healthy and alive.

Find a DBT Therapist through the Expat Therapy 4U platform

DBT aims at improving the behaviour of the clients by providing them insight about their current status along with the techniques to change it.

Further Readings on DBT Therapy


About Expat Therapy 4U

Expat Therapy 4U is the result of 5 years’ experience running The International Psychology Clinic, the first private therapy service based in London specialized in multilingual and multicultural therapy.

The platform is run by Dr Martina Paglia. Dr Martina is a leading dual qualified Clinical and Counselling psychologist who helps patients by providing bespoke psychological services including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Counselling and Psychotherapy in London and online worldwide.

Our network comprises highly qualified and experienced private therapists who have made a positive difference in the lives of thousands of expats worldwide. All members of our community are highly experienced working in cross-cultural environments.

We are passionate about delivering first-class patient-centred, safe and effective care. If you would like to work with a warm, inclusive, caring and professional English-speaking therapist in Europe or online worldwide you have come to the right place.

If you are looking for the perfect expat Therapist in Europe or online worldwide, our team is dedicated to help you find your best match. We offer a client guarantee where clients can re-book with a different therapist if they are not satisfied with their first therapy session.

Recent Blog Articles

Meet Our Excellent Expat Therapists

See Other Available Expat Therapists >