Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

DBT or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that aims to you people how to live in the moment, overcome unhealthy reactions to painful emotions, increase your positive experiences and develop healthy interpersonal relationships.

During our DBT sessions at Oceanic Counseling, we will aim to achieve the above stated goal by practicing and applying the following strategies:

  1. Mindfulness- This strategy is the most important component of DBT, as it teaches you to focus and remain in the moment in the midst of life stressors. Anxiety tends to shift our focus to future catastrophes. By focusing on the present, we’re able to ground ourselves in the “here and now”. Mindfulness helps you develop the “here and now” muscle, by shifting your attention to what’s going on inside of you (thoughts and feelings), and what’s happening on the outside of you (what you can see, hear etc.). In learning about mindfulness techniques, I also help clients differentiate between “Emotion Mind”, “Rational Mind” and practice using the “Wise Mind” technique.
  2. Distress Tolerance- This strategy helps you manage intense emotions in a proactive way. During your session, you will learn ways to distract yourself, self-soothing skills, and discuss pros and cons of the situation.

    A good distress tolerance exercise I practice with my clients during our sessions is called the “STOP” technique:
    S-Imagine a STOP sign.
    T-Take deep breaths to bring your awareness to the here and now.
    O- Observe what’s going on inside of you (Thoughts, feelings), and observe what’s going on outside of you.
    P- Proceed mindfully (using the Wise Mind).

  3. Emotion Regulation- Using this strategy, you learn effective ways to manage painful emotions, and building positive experiences.
  4. Interpersonal Effectiveness- This strategy helps you practice expressing your needs in a validating environment, practice saying “no”, and overall improving the quality of your relationships.

    An Interpersonal Effectiveness exercise I use with my clients to practice interpersonal communication is by using the acronym: DEAR MAN

    D-Describe the current situation using facts.
    E-Express your feelings using “I” Statements
    A-Assert yourself by asking for what you want, or by saying “no”
    R-Reinforce or Reward your behaviors.

    M-Mindful of objectives without distraction.
    A-Appear confident
    N-Negotiate alternative solutions