Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) was created by  Dr. Marsha Linehan from the University of Washington. DBT borrows concepts from both Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Buddhism. DBT has been shown to be effective among individuals suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) which can be characterized by self injurious behavior, suicidal ideations/attempts, depression etc. but has recently gained support for use with other populations (i.e.- among substance abusers). 

Interventions Unique to Dialectical Behavior Therapy

  • Mindfulness as a set of skills Dialectical focus
  • Emotion regulation and opposite action skills
  • Distress tolerance skills
  • High degree of therapist self-disclosure 
  • Micro-analytic chain analysis
  • Commitment strategies
  • Validation as an explicit therapist skill.


Linehan, M. M., & Schmidt, H. (1995). The dialectics of effective treatment of borderline personality disorder. In W. T. O’Donohue, L. Krasner (Eds.) , Theories of behavior therapy: Exploring behavior change (pp. 553-584). Dialectics- Effective treatment for BPD pdf 

Lynch, T.R., Chapman, A.L., Rosenthal, M.Z., Kuo, J. R. & Linehan, M.M. (2006) Mechanisms of Change in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy: Theoretical & Empirical Observations. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 62 (4) 459-480. Mechanisms for Change

McCann, R. A., Ball, E. M., & Ivanoff, A. (2000). DBT with an inpatient forensic population: The CMHIP forensic model. Cognitive And Behavioral Practice7(4), 447-456.Salsman, N.L. & Linehan, M.M. (2006). Dialectical Behavioral Therapy for Borderline Personality Disorder. Primary Psychiatry, 13 (5):51-58.DBT with an inpatient forensic population