Frequently Asked Questions About Dialectical Therapy

Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder common among the old population. It affects memory as well as thinking skills. As time goes by, it can also eventually hamper the ability to carry out daily tasks. 

Much like any other mental health disease, those with Alzheimer’s would need support from family members. But more importantly, help from professionals through therapy and medication would be useful as well. 

Over time, society has become more and more open to the topic of mental health illnesses. With that, there have been recent discoveries on the types of methods to help people with their situation. It helps people to cope better and integrate well into society. One of these recent methods is Dialectical Behavior Therapy.


Dialectical Behavior Therapy is a kind of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. As such, it tries to help patients to become aware and identify negative thinking patterns.

The goal of DBT is to teach patients how to develop healthier ways to cope with stress and manage their emotions. Through DBT, patients can build a good relationship with themselves and others.  

Dr. Marhsa Linahan and her colleagues developed DBT in the 1980s. It acts as a supplement to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which is solely inadequate to help people with Borderline Personality Disorder. Dr. Linehan and her team added techniques and developed DBT to aid better the patients with BPD. 

DBT was originally for people with Borderline Personality Disorder who have thoughts of self-harm and suicide. However, this method is also found to be an effective treatment for different conditions like:

  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Eating Disorders
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Substance Abuse Problems

DBT bases on a philosophical process called dialectics. In dialectics, two opposing viewpoints constantly clash with each other.  Change happens when there’s a dialogue between these two factors. Then, a synthesis emerges out of this dialogue between these two contradicting factors.

Relating this to DBT, a patient and a therapist can work together to resolve issues between the patient’s self-acceptance and change. The dialogue between these two factors will bring about positive changes in the patient’s well-being.

If you’re interested in learning more about DBT and how it can help with your condition, we listed below some frequently asked questions about it. 

What are the six main points of dialectical behavior therapy?

There are six main points involved under Dialectic Behavior Therapy where change happens. It consists of pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance, and termination. Expect to encounter these stages while undergoing dialectical behavior therapy.

Pre-contemplation is the stage of denial and zero awareness about the situation. As the clients walk through the therapy, new stages will open to transform their behavior.

What is DBT therapy used for?

Initially, DBT was created to help people with borderline personality disorder and clients who experience suicidal thoughts and behavior. However, this therapy has been adapted to treat other mental health problems, including alcoholic and drug problems, binge-eating disorder, and depression.

What is the difference between cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical-behavioral therapy?

CBT focuses on recognizing the patients’ thoughts that might be troublesome and redirecting thought strategies. In CBT, therapists try to determine and transform negative thinking patterns. It aims to defy the negativity and push positive behavioral changes.

In contrast, DBT is a form of CBT wherein it helps people acknowledge their personality and deal with their emotions. This way, they can regulate their potentially harmful and detrimental behaviors.

DBT may be utilized in handling patients with suicidal and other self-destructive behaviors. Through DBT, therapists teach their patients how to adapt to changes.

What are the DBT skills?

There are three DBT skills the patient should adapt, which are observing, describing, and participating. All of these are under core mindfulness skills, the foundation of all DBT skills training.

What does it mean to think dialectically?

Dialectical is the combination of two opposite ideas in therapy, which are acceptance and change. But, these two opposing ideas aim to bring better results.

Dialectical thinking means the ability of a person to view issues from different perspectives and reconcile contradictory ideas. Through the collision of multiple perspectives, it creates new truth.

Does DBT work for depression?

DBT is a form of CBT that is designed for people with borderline personality disorder. Along the way, it has been found to treat other forms of behavioral and emotional challenges, including depression, effectively.

What is CBT not good for?

CBT is not apt for more elaborate mental health conditions. In some cases, doing CBT may rather be counterproductive instead. For example, there is no existing evidence that CBT can treat schizophrenia.

Meanwhile, CBT can also be ineffective for people with bipolar disorder. At times, this therapy can have limited effects on depression.


What are the 4 modules of DBT?

DBT Skills training includes core mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness. This therapy aims to assist individuals in dealing with their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.

  • Mindfulness: It is being more conscious about yourself and others and being attentive to the present.
  • Emotion regulation: It focuses on acknowledging and adjusting your emotions.
  • Distress tolerance: Intense burst of feeling such as anger but with proper management of emotion.
  • Interpersonal effectiveness: Identifying the conflicts and developing better solutions.

How long does DBT therapy last?

DBT consists of four main modules: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. Patients usually spend six weeks to accomplish each module. Although there is no fixed time to finish all the modules, it usually takes around six months to complete a full course of DBT.

Who needs dialectical therapy?

DBT was initially intended to help people with borderline personality disorder. This type of disorder can lead to acute emotional distress wherein they experience intense bursts of anger and aggression, a sudden shift of mood, and extreme fear of rejection.

Additionally, DBT has been adapted to treat people who exhibit self-harm and experience problems dealing with their emotions. It includes eating disorders and depression.


Mental health problems can disable many from living a good life. Luckily, we now have access to different procedures, which help people with mental health disorders live their lives to the fullest. One of which is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. 

DBT is an effective treatment for different mental health issues like Borderline Personality Disorder, eating disorders, and depression. It helps patients to develop strategies to deal with their emotions and cope better with positive behavior.

This kind of therapy uses a unique kind of process to confront issues within themselves through dialectics. With this, the patient can develop a new perspective on how they should take their experiences, behaviors, and emotions. 

DBT has four major modules that help patients effectively change their behavior. Through these modules, they can become more aware of their present emotions and regulate them. Additionally, patients learn how to handle personal conflicts in a healthier way. 

More importantly, DBT helps patients decrease the risk of suicide and self-harm, and other harmful behaviors. By undergoing this therapy, patients will live independently without posing a risk for themselves and others. More so, they can integrate into society and live their life in a better and healthier manner. 

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