Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a form of cognitive behavioral treatment that was first developed by Marsha Linehan, PhD, ABPP.

DBT helps people learn new skills and use strategies to develop a worthwhile and fulfilling life. This is accomplished through group skills training classes and individual psychotherapy sessions.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy is an evidence-based therapy with roots in treating borderline personality disorder but has shown much success in the treatment of substance addiction for drugs and alcohol. It is similar to other cognitive therapies and incorporates some of the following:


  • Teflon Mind: let thoughts slide by
  • Wise Mind: balance thoughts and feelings
  • Non-Judgmental: “just the facts”
  • Effectively: choose effective over right
  • “What am I feeling?”: observe and describe your feelings. Participate; allowing experience
  • One Mindful: stay focused on the task at hand

Emotional Regulation

  • Moment to Pause: reflect before acting – “buy time”
  • ABC: Accumulate positives / Build mastery / Cope ahead
  • PLEASE: treat Physical ilLness – Eating – Avoid drugs – Sleep – Exercise
  • Changing Emotional Responses: Check the facts, opposite action (to the emotion), problem solve

Interpersonal Effectiveness

  • DEARMAN: Describe –Express – Assert – Reinforce
  • GIVE: Gentle – Interested – Validate – Easy Going
  • FAST: Fair – less Apologies – Stick to values – Truth
  • Intensity of Request: appropriate to situation

Distress Tolerance

  • Pros & Cons: weigh advantages and disadvantages
  • Distract – Self Soothe – Improve the Moment
  • Radical Acceptance: reality as it is
  • Turning the Mind: shift focus with willingness
  • TIP your body chemistry: Temperature (iced water on your face) – Intensely exercise. Progressively relax your muscles – Pace breathing

Dialectical Behavior Therapy is one of many treatment modalities we have found helpful at Alo House.

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We believe trust, meaningful connections, and kindness are the essentials to beginning a journey in recovery. We are dedicated to providing an honest, authentic, and genuine treatment environment that gives our clients a unique opportunity for healing.

Alo House is LegitScript Certified and a Joint Commission Accredited Addiction Treatment Center.