4 Components of DBT

The principles of dialectical behavior therapy techniques are built on a few fundamental ideals. First, it was developed on the foundations of both science and philosophy. The first two core beliefs of DBT are “I am doing the best that I can” and “I need to learn new ways to do better and try harder.” Finally, a major thought in DBT is that everything in life is connected. The only stable, constant thing we can trust or rely on is that change is unavoidable

“The 4 components of DBT are individual sessions, group therapy, phone coaching, and a consultation team. This multidimensional approach serves as a way to support individuals who are going through DBT treatment. Each part serves an important purpose and provides structure for the client.”

Talkspace Therapist Bisma Anwar, LMCH

There are four basic components of DBT. They include: 

Using individual one-on-one therapy

Typically, DBT therapy sessions will include one individual session per week with a trained therapist. During your sessions, you’ll focus on major issues in your life. You’ll work to explore how your beliefs, your thoughts, and the expectations you have of your world might add to difficulties you’re having in specific areas of your life. 

You’ll learn how to find new ways to handle things, and you’ll practice DBT skills that’ll help you create a reality and world that’s something you can function in successfully. You’ll remain in individual therapy during the entire DBT process.

Therapist training must be a priority

There’s a strong emphasis on the training DBT therapists must undergo. Additionally, they’re required to stay up to date with the most current findings in regards to DBT, while also being sure to keep up with recent research, studies, and all other mental health treatment aspects. 

Help must always be available

DBT, when used traditionally, offers you access to a coach via phone should you need to contact someone in between your therapy sessions. This person doesn’t necessarily need to be your therapist, but it could be. It might also be another DBT-trained therapist or a trained phone coach. 

Phone use is encouraged, but it’s not intended to be something that’s abused. The calls shouldn’t become habitual. You can’t continuously reach out to go over things that you’re working on in therapy without trying to put your new DBT skills into practice on your own. If you begin to use the calls as a crutch, they will be addressed in your regular therapy sessions. 

Group therapy is a must

Unlike most other cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, where you’d normally go to either group or individual therapy, with DBT, you’ll attend both formats. Group therapy for DBT involves lectures, discussions, and the opportunity to practice and implement techniques you’re learning. Group sessions will often take place once a week over the course of about 5 months. It’s important to attend every session to get the most out of the format. 


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