Dialectical behavior therapy
Cameron, Amy Yule Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Warren Alpert Medical School, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island.
Last reviewed:May 2020
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A form of cognitive-behavioral therapy. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a psychotherapy developed by psychologist Marsha M. Linehan in the 1990s and designed originally to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD). DBT derives from a cognitive-behavioral theoretical foundation and uses four main behavior-change strategies: skills training, exposure therapy, cognitive therapy, and contingency management. Through behavioral theory, DBT focuses on increasing skills to process emotions, solve problems, understand the functions of behaviors, and change contingency patterns (see illustration). Balancing acceptance and change in DBT is thought to create a therapeutic dynamic in which patients feel understood and accepted and can work toward changing their behavior. See also: Affective disorders; Cognition; Cognitive-behavioral therapy; Emotion; Mental disorders; Psychology; Psychotherapy
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