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Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)

The Centre of Mental Health Education supports clinicians extending their practice through a range of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) workshops and professional development opportunities with the Australian DBT Institute.

To best support the development of mental health professionals, we have structured workshops using a three-phase approach (Foundations, Enhanced and Advanced). Further information has been provided below on each phase of development for mental health professionals.

Foundations of Practice Workshops

Foundation of Practice in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy is the first phase of development for mental health professionals seeking to advance their practice in DBT based approaches. The workshops within the foundations of practice phase have been developed by the Australian DBT Institute. Our faculty delivering practice essentials workshops have completed a minimum of an Intensive Training Course in DBT with Behavioral Tech LLC in the USA which was established by DBT creator Marsha Linehan.

Foundations of Practice Workshops include:

If you seek a more comprehensive establishment of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy approaches we suggest you consider attending Comprehensive Training in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy.

Enhanced Practice Workshops

Comprehensive Training and Retreats in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy are the second phase of development for mental health professionals seeking to advance clinical practice. The workshops within the enhanced phase of practice have been developed by the Australian DBT Institute for individuals and teams seeking to use Dialectical Behaviour Therapy as a tool for the management of emotion dysregulation. Our faculty delivering enhanced practice workshops have completed a minimum of an Intensive Training Course in DBT with Behavioral Tech LLC in the USA which was established by DBT creator Marsha Linehan.

Foundations of Workshops include:

Advanced Practice & Development

For Clinicians seeking to advance their practice in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, the Centre for Mental Health Education offers a range of supervision options as well as Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Credentialing through the Australian DBT Institute.

What is Dialectical Behaviour Therapy?

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), developed by Marsha Linehan PhD at the University of Washington, is a type of psychotherapy (sometimes called “talking therapy”) for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). DBT is a cognitive behavioural therapy, meaning it is a therapy that focuses on the role of cognition (e.g., thoughts and beliefs) and behaviours (e.g., actions) in the development and the treatment of BPD. DBT includes some changes to the traditional cognitive behavioural elements of therapy in order to help specifically reduce the symptoms of BPD.

Research Support for Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

DBT was the first psychotherapy shown to be effective in treating BPD in controlled clinical trials — the most rigourous type of clinical research. While DBT is no longer the only therapy to have shown effectiveness in controlled trials, it has grown a large evidence base and is considered one of the best treatments for BPD in terms of documented success rates.

Theoretical Basis for Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

DBT is based on Dr. Linehan’s theory that the core problem in BPD is emotion dysregulation, resulting from mixing biology (e.g., genetic and other biological risk factors) and an emotionally unstable childhood environment (e.g., where caregivers punish, trivialise or respond erratically to the child’s expression of emotion) together. The focus of DBT is on helping the client learn and apply skills that will decrease emotion dysregulation and unhealthy attempts to cope with strong emotions

What to Expect in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

Usually, DBT includes a combination of group skills training, individual psychotherapy, and phone coaching, although there are exceptions. Patients in DBT are asked to monitor their symptoms and use of learned skills daily, while their progress is tracked throughout therapy.

These are 4 types of skills covered in DBT Skills Training: Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Distress Tolerance, and Emotion Regulation Skills each of which is described briefly below.

Mindfulness Skills. These skills center on learning to observe, describe and participate in all experiences (including thoughts, sensations, emotions, and things happening externally in the environment) without judging these experiences as “good” or “bad.” These are considered “core” skills that are necessary in order to implement the other DBT skills successfully.

Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills. The focus of this skill module is on learning to successfully assert your needs and to manage conflict in relationships.

Distress Tolerance Skills. The distress tolerance skills module promotes learning ways to accept and tolerate distress without doing anything that will make the distress worse in the long run (e.g., engaging in self-harm).

Emotion Regulation Skills. In this module, patients learn to identify and manage emotional reactions.

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