Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Old man hugging boy

Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) used to treat high-risk patients who often have multiple diagnoses. Conceived initially to treat people suffering from suicidal ideations and borderline personality disorder, DBT has been adapted and proven effective in treating other mental health problems that can lead to self-harm.

The term “dialectical” means to merge two opposites in therapy—acceptance, and change. At Dedicato’s DBT house, we practice comprehensive DBT in individual and group therapy to disrupt negative self-talk and improve communications in social atmospheres.

We help patients identify negative self-talk and change negative perceptions, something our clients call “flipping the script.” That is easier said than done for a person who has had long developed habits, patterns, and belief systems. This is “the work” of building an emotional toolkit that helps our clients to be able to form the habit of “flipping the script” in their everyday lives.

With CBT, we try to identify and change those negative thinking patterns. With DBT, we are going deeper to treat suicidal and other self-destructive behaviors, such as substance abuse or “self-medicating.” Both CBT and DBT are focused on helping patients build coping skills, change unhealthy behaviors, and build healthy relationships that foster a sense of community, purpose, and self-worth.