Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Only effective in Borderline Personality Disorder?


Marsha Linehan conceived dialectical behavioral therapy in the late 80‘s. This treatment is meant to help the people with emotional instability. The people suffering from this disorder are mainly characterized by mood swings, extreme suicidal thoughts and abuse of substances. The designed approach is meant to improve their mental stability and develop better cognitive skills. It is directed to make them avoid self-harming and harming the people around them. Dialectical behavioral therapy is an improved version of cognitive behavioral therapy. Currently, the treatment is used mainly on patients with borderline personality disorder. In addition to that, it has been directed to other fields (Kahl & Winter, 2012). These are suicidal patient and those patients with brain injuries, patients with eating disorders and those with mood changes. Other fields also that can be explored in patients with drug dependency and those who have been sexually abused.

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The therapy involves lots of conversation between the patient and the therapist. It is meant to gauge the quality of the patients’ cognitive abilities. The main difference from cognitive behavioral therapy is that dialectal behavioral therapy is meant to change the patient’s destructive ways of thinking (Stephan G Hofmann, 2012). In addition to that, the therapy also focuses on making the patient accept the person he is and help them better their relationships with the people around them positively. The processes involved include understanding the patient’s situation after the description, the assertion of what needs to be done, building a solid emotional stability, understanding others and being confident about the decisions made (Bankoff, 2012).

According to the book the “High Conflict Couple,” relationships such as marriage can be duly affected by mood swings and anger. Anger management and wise decision making are essential to maintaining understanding in a marriage. Highly reactive couples explore with rage and start throwing blame at each other rather than solving the situations at hand (Fruzzetti, 2006). The author depicts that in such condition, emotional control is essential for the partners. Dialectal behavioral therapy can be administered to explosive marriage partners to help them control their emotions. With the treatment, they will appreciate the need of soberness in conflict resolution and better their cognitive skills when facing disagreements. Other skills that will be developed include the ability to understand the anger of your partner and be mindful about how to better the situation rather than increase their vulnerabilities. The therapy encourages the use of negotiation, and that is why it is nicknamed the talking therapy. The treatment helps the patients to avoid losing control due to emotional changes. It allows patients maintain quality relationships by understanding themselves and the people close to them. These skills help patients curb emotional suffering and help them create an inner resilience to manage situations at hand

DBT is vital in our everyday lives. The therapy goals include improving our logic reasoning, improving our problem-solving skills. Anyone seeking to improve their interpersonal communication with the people around them needs to reduce rational thinking and explosive rationale. In addition to that planning, our ideas make us relax our minds and manage our emotions at any situations both with our friends and family. Other conditions to avoid in our everyday life is lack of understanding of our colleagues’ behaviors and emotions. DBT makes us skillful and better our decision making to prevent rationalism. Once we can control our reasoning, emotions and body language, we will be able to have a rational thinking.

DBT can also be used on sexually abused juveniles. Over the years, the rate of teenage sexual abuse has been on the rise. These young souls are left emotionally distressed and often develop specific unwanted decision making evolves. DBT can be deployed to target their changes in behavior, emotional management, and decision making. The sexually abused minors are prone to making threatening decisions such as self-mutilation and worse still suicide (Regina Steil, 2011). Other destructive behaviors displayed by the abused are violence and rational reasoning. DBT is essential in making them accept themselves and the situations they are in. Acceptance is the first step towards healing. In addition to that, the therapists should give them a chance to speak out their emotions in order to gauge their extreme fears and extreme rational thinking. It is helpful for the improvement of the quality of their thinking and understanding.


According to the research, DBT is vital in every day’s life. Everyone occasionally makes rational decisions once in a while. DBT helps everyone to stabilize their emotions to reduce their rationalism and extreme behavior. The therapy will improve our understanding of ourselves and our friends and partners. On the contrary dialectical behavioral therapy is an expensive treatment. It is also time-consuming and demanding. A complete session can take close to one year of treatment. However, the advantages of any patients’ life are vital. The process is patient-oriented and meant to improve the patient’s quality of life (Shireen L. Rizvi, 2013).

DBT builds trust in relationships and encourages both self-respect and respect of the relationship. After the therapy, the patients understand the need for communication and respect each other’s ideas. According to the book, being truthful and having moral values will keep the marriages strongly bonded and prosperous.



Bankoff, S. M. (2012, April 20). A Systematic Review of Dialectial Behavior Therapy for the treatment of Eating Disorders. The Journal of Treatment and Prevention, 162-215.

Fruzzetti, A. (2006). The High Conflict Couple.

Kahl, K. G., & Winter, L. (2012). The third wave of cognitive behavioral therapies:What is new and what is effective? Clinical Therapeutics, 522-528.

Regina Steil, A. D. (2011, February 4). Dialectical behavior therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder related to childhood sexual abuse: Apilot study of an intensive residential treatment program. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 102-106.

Shireen L. Rizvi, L. M.-W. (2013). An Overview of Dilectical Behavior Therapy for Proffesional Psychologists. Proffesional Psychology: Research and Prctice, 44(2), 73-80.

Stephan G Hofmann, A. A. (2012, October). The Efficcy of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: A review of Meta- Analyses. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 36(5), 427-440.