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Understanding Dialectical Behavior Therapy: A Comprehensive Guide

Understanding Dialectical Behavior Therapy: A Comprehensive Guide

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a form of dialectic behavioral therapy that has gained significant recognition for its effectiveness in treating various mental health conditions. At Onward Health & Wellness, we integrate DBT into our comprehensive treatment approach to support individuals in Salem, Oregon, on their journey towards mental well-being.

What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

DBT was developed by Dr. Marsha M. Linehan in the late 1980s to specifically treat individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD). However, its applications have expanded to address other conditions such as depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and substance abuse.

The core principles of DBT include mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. Through a combination of individual therapy, skills training, phone coaching, and therapist consultation teams, DBT aims to help individuals build skills to manage emotions, improve relationships, and create a life worth living.

How DBT Works

DBT operates on the premise that individuals struggling with emotional dysregulation often lack the necessary skills to cope with distressing situations effectively. Therefore, the therapy focuses on teaching specific skills to enhance emotional regulation and interpersonal functioning.


Mindfulness skills help individuals become more aware of their thoughts, emotions, and sensations without judgment. By practicing mindfulness, individuals can develop a greater sense of control over their reactions and learn to live in the present moment.

Distress Tolerance

Distress tolerance skills teach individuals how to tolerate and survive crises without making impulsive or harmful decisions. Techniques such as distraction, self-soothing, and radical acceptance empower individuals to navigate difficult situations without resorting to destructive behaviors.

Emotion Regulation

Emotion regulation skills enable individuals to identify, understand, and manage their emotions effectively. By learning to recognize triggers and develop healthy coping strategies, individuals can reduce emotional intensity and enhance overall well-being.

Interpersonal Effectiveness

Interpersonal effectiveness skills focus on improving communication, setting boundaries, and building healthy relationships. By learning assertiveness, negotiation, and conflict resolution techniques, individuals can cultivate more satisfying connections with others.

Integrating DBT at Onward Health & Wellness

At Onward Health & Wellness, we recognize the importance of providing comprehensive care that addresses the unique needs of each individual. Our experienced therapists integrate DBT principles into personalized treatment plans to support clients in developing essential skills for emotional regulation and interpersonal effectiveness.

Through a combination of individual therapy sessions, skills training groups, and ongoing support, we empower our clients to overcome challenges and achieve meaningful growth. Our compassionate team is dedicated to creating a safe and supportive environment where individuals can explore their thoughts and feelings openly.


Dialectical Behavior Therapy offers a structured and evidence-based approach to addressing a wide range of mental health concerns. By incorporating mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness skills, DBT empowers individuals to lead fulfilling and balanced lives. At Onward Health & Wellness, we are committed to providing comprehensive DBT-informed care to support our clients on their journey towards healing and recovery.

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