Therapy That Works...

Dialectical Therapy

What Is DBT?

“The overall goal of DBT skills training is to help individuals change behavioral, emotional, thinking, and interpersonal patterns associated with problems in living.”

- Dr. Marsha Linehan, creator of Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a highly effective system of emotional change that emphasizes the regulation of feelings and behaviors. By learning and rehearsing new, more effective coping skills for managing emotions, our clients live more successful and productive lives.

DBT grew out of the cognitive behavioral therapy system (CBT), which argues that our emotions and behaviors are a direct result of what and how we think. If our thoughts are inaccurate or negative, our feelings will also be inaccurate and negative. DBT emphasizes the role of runaway emotions and emotional deregulation in sabotaging our relationships and life goals. Clients who are regularly overwhelmed and swept away by their thoughts and emotions may have difficulty implementing the skills and strategies of CBT.

Like cognitive therapy, DBT teaches strategies for problem solving and how to implement more effective strategies in dealing with our relationships, our daily challenges, and our thoughts. However, DBT skills place greater emphasis on emotional control in the moment and how to keep your thoughts and emotions in check.

Want to learn more? Contact Us today to schedule an initial appointment.

Who Is It For?

Many of us who struggle with emotional intensity issues find ourselves lost or overwhelmed in the moment of emotional impact. The feelings carry us away before we can stop them. Many of us have a heightened sensitivity to certain triggers, and we respond more intensely than other people to certain events or situations. Worst of all, it is often difficult to calm down once triggered, and we remain agitated and upset far longer than we should. These patterns often begin early in life, so we may also internalize a negative belief about ourselves that we are “overreactive.”

Relationships are often the first casualties of an deregulated mind. When your mind has been swept away by surging thoughts, emotions are treated like facts and may lead to interpersonal conflict and possibly estrangement. Your loved ones may find you difficult to deal with due to explosive anger, regular misinterpretations of a situation or an innocent statement, or exquisite sensitivity to any perceived slight. Our family, friends, or romantic partners may notice that we withdraw and escape to avoid conflict and damage to the relationship. However, such avoidance leaves others feeling like they are unable to work out differences, resolve misunderstandings, or to find common ground with you.

There are a number of negative consequences with an emotionally intense mind. Despite countless attempts and good intentions, the intensity of our feelings can derail our relationships, home life, and careers. DBT can help you to stop this endless cycle of emotional deregulation and teach you the skills to build a life worth living.

Do you think DBT might be right for you? Contact Us today to schedule an initial appointment.

What Will I Learn?

Here are a few examples of DBT Skills:


Mindfulness is the ability to distance your mind from reactive feelings and emotions, which allows you to sort through your thoughts without judging them positively or negatively. Slowing down your thoughts allows you to regain control and not be swept away by a flood of negativity or anxiety. Through the regular use of mindfulness techniques, clients are able to lower their stress, experience unprecedented mental clarity, higher levels of compassion for themselves and others, and even improve their physical health (e.g., lower blood pressure, improved sleep, improved cardiac health, etc.).

Distress Tolerance Skills

Distress tolerance skills teach you how to redirect your mind when you are about to be swept away by a flood of overwhelming emotions or anxiety. When you are confronted with an upsetting or painful situation, these skills give you another option besides blowing up or melting down. By using a combination of skills like Distraction and Pros-and-Cons in the moment, you can redirect your mind and cope with discomfort in healthier and more productive ways.

Radical Acceptance

Radical Acceptance is the complete acceptance of the reality of your situation. In a way, it’s what happens when you stop fighting reality and let go. Instead of continuing to stay miserable or try to solve an impossible problem, you accept the situation and move on to another area of life that brings you joy. Your life is still worth living even with painful situations, and there is no reason why you can’t find happiness and success if you move past your problems.

Individual and Group Therapy

The use and application of DBT requires a highly trained therapist who is thoroughly versed in the complexities of this innovative therapy system. Gearing Up’s therapists have completed numerous hours of study, hands on training, and supervision in dialectical behavior therapy. Furthermore, Gearing Up provides them with the latest materials and research with new advances in DBT.

This is only the beginning of how DBT can change your life. Contact Us today to schedule an initial appointment.

Next Steps

Please call our office or Contact Us to schedule an initial appointment and find out if DBT is right for you.

You can read about Our Clinicians that use DBT with their clients.

We would be happy to check with your insurance provider to determine whether your benefits will cover individual or group DBT sessions at Gearing Up. Please call us today!

More Resources

The Linehan Institute (

The Work of Dr. Marsha Linehan

The Work of Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn

The Work of Dr. Lane Pederson