Dialectical Behavior Therapy by Dr. Jonathan Huffman 

Welcome! Thank you for stopping by to read about dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). We are passionate about DBT and are excited for the chance to share information from a DBT therapist with you today.

DBT is an evidence-based practice.

It focuses treatment on the acquisition and application of skills in 4 major modules:

  1. Mindfulness
  2. Distress tolerance
  3. Emotion regulation
  4. Interpersonal effectiveness

A person sits across a desk from a woman gesturing with her hands. This could represent the support DBT in St. Pete, FL can offer. Learn more by contacting a DBT therapist in Tampa, FL or search “DBT therapist in St. Petersburg, FL” today.Broadly, you will also have the chance to learn how to manage behaviors through chain analysis. You can also engage in an addiction module if it is relevant to your presenting concerns. DBT has demonstrated significant support for the management of symptoms associated with the diagnosis of borderline personality disorder (BPD).

In addition to BPD, DBT has demonstrated support for its application to manage symptoms associated with:

Further, research has also demonstrated support for combining DBT with prolonged exposure for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and challenges associated with emotion regulation after traumatic experiences. 

Mindfulness Skills 

In DBT you can expect to learn mindfulness skills. Have you heard of mindfulness? Many people have heard of mindfulness. But, it has been our experience few people have hands-on experience in applying it to their life. By working with a DBT therapist, you will learn the core components of mindfulness. Together, you will complete exercises inside and outside sessions aimed at reducing pain, tension, and stress. Mindfulness skills can also help you better understand your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Here is a list of skills you will learn as a part of mindfulness in DBT

  • Wise mind
  • Observe
  • Describe
  • Participate
  • Nonjudgmental stance
  • One-mindfully
  • Effectiveness

Distress Tolerance Skills

Distress tolerance skills are often taught early in DBT in order to give you skills to manage your immediate distress and crisis. The goals of distress tolerance skills are to survive the crisis without making it worse. This means accepting reality, becoming unstuck, and adaptively satisfying your urges, desires, and intense emotions. Distress tolerance skills incorporates mindfulness skills and encourages you to accept the current position at the same time. All while also working to make adaptive behavior changes. Here is a list of skills you will learn as a part of distress tolerance in DBT: 

  • STOP
  • Pros and Cons
  • TIPP
  • Distract with ACCEPTS
  • Self-soothe
  • IMPROVE the moment
  • Radical acceptance
  • Turning the mind
  • Willingness
  • Half-smile
  • Willing hands
  • Mindfulness to thoughts

Emotion Regulation Skills

A person covers their face while standing next to a mirror with a laughing reflection. A DBT therapist in St. Petersburg, FL can offer emotional regulation support. Learn more about dialectical behavior therapy in St. Pete, FL to learn more about DBT today.Emotion regulation skills are beneficial for all persons and are a critical component of DBT. The goal of learning emotion regulation skills is to identify, observe, and describe your emotions. You learn that emotions serve a function and often provide you with important information about your lived experience. Incorporating emotion regulation skills will also help stop unwanted emotions from the start, change unwanted emotions once they start, and decrease emotional vulnerability/reactivity. Through being active and intentionally learning emotion regulation strategies with a DBT therapist, you will increase your resilience and ability to cope with both difficult and positive emotions. Here is a list of skills you will learn as a part of emotion regulation in DBT

  • Check the facts
  • Opposite action
  • Problem solving
  • Accumulating positive emotions
  • Build mastery
  • Cope ahead
  • Mindfulness to emotion

Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills 

Interpersonal effectiveness skills are essential to the therapeutic relationship and your relationships outside of the therapy context. When we experience strong emotional reactions, it often impacts those around us and our relationships with them. Therefore, you learn skills that increase effective communication with a DBT therapist. This allows you to set boundaries with others, encourages others to take your request/denials seriously, strengthen your current relationships, builds new relationships, and ends hopeless relationships. Here is a list of skills you will learn as a part of interpersonal effectiveness in DBT

  • GIVE
  • FAST
  • Validation

Chain Analysis (Analyzing Behavior)

Chain analysis is the behavior-focused process. It involves examining the events that lead to ineffective behaviors and the consequences of those maladaptive behaviors. The consequences of maladaptive behaviors may impact our functioning in negative ways. But, they are often accompanied by brief short-term relief, which makes it hard to change them. Engaging in chain analysis with a DBT therapist can help you identify what got in the way of things going the way you had intended them to. It also provides you with the chance to reflect on how to repair any damage. Here is a list of skills you will learn as a part of chain analysis in DBT:

  • Chain analysis of problem behavior
  • Missing-links analysis

Addictions Module (When Applicable to your Current Concerns)

The addictions module contains skills that are relevant to those managing any addictive behavior. Addictions are often associated with substance use but can also include a variety of other behaviors. For example, the addictions module may be beneficial for those with addictive behaviors related to:

  • Eating
  • Attention seeking
  • Betting
  • Gambling
  • Diuretics
  • Internet
  • Gaming
  • Stealing
  • Shoplifting
  • Pornography
  • Lying
  • Self-injury
  • Sex
  • Shopping
  • Sleeping
  • Smoking
  • Social networking
  • Television
  • Texting
  • Working collecting items (e.g., art, coins, junk, clothes)
  • And activities (e.g., body-building, biking, running)

The goal is not to engage in addictive behaviors again. It is to achieve complete abstinence. But, if there is a slip, the goal is to reduce the harm obtained from engaging in the addictive behavior and commit back to abstinence as soon as possible. Here is a list of skills you will learn as a part of the addiction module in DBT:

  • Dialectical abstinence
  • Clear mind
  • Community reinforcement
  • Burning bridges and building new ones
  • Alternative rebellion
  • Adaptive denial 

Is DBT right for me? 

A woman sits while looking off into the distance on a sunny day. Learn how DBT in St. Pete, FL can help you gain peace. A DBT therapist in St. Pete, FL can offer support in Tampa, FL and across the state!DBT is an evidence-based practice for a variety of mental health concerns. So, it is consistent with its belief that all persons may benefit from using cognitive, emotional, and behavior regulation skills. It is likely that engaging in DBT will benefit you and your overall functioning. An important questions to consider before engaging in DBT, however, is “Am open to this experience working?” Individuals often present to therapy with the belief that “therapy isn’t going to work” or “therapy works for everyone but me.” While this belief is common, entering therapy with this belief only hinders your ability to apply the skills and be successful in making your desired changes

That is not to say if you believe therapy won’t be effective you shouldn’t come contact a DBT therapist.

In contrast, DBT may be a good therapeutic approach for you because DBT poses dialectic willingness and willfulness. Willingness refers to radically accepting the reality of your current position and actively working to problem-solve your challenges. In contrast, willfulness often reflects sticking to one singular idea (regardless of its effectiveness) to manage a problem or that the problem cannot be managed (e.g., “this won’t work for me.”). Therefore, in therapy, your DBT therapist will work with you to identify how your beliefs and behaviors match both willingness and willfulness.

The goal in therapy is to allow your full experience, such that perhaps you do have hesitancy that therapy will work for you (willfulness) and you simultaneously hold space for the belief that perhaps it will work for you too (willingness). 

Begin Working with A DBT Therapist in St. Pete, FL and Tampa, FL

We understand this is a hard question to answer. So, you may have questions specific to your circumstance. At Wellness Psychological Services, we offer free brief consultations to answer some of these common questions before a formal intake. Please reach out to us to set up a free consultation with a DBT therapist from our team.

Other Services Offered With Wellness Psychological Services

Our team understands you may face a variety of mental health issues. We are happy to offer a variety of services in support of your mental health in addition to DBT. We are happy to offer online therapy, counseling for depression and bipolar disorder, anxiety, stress management, relationship problems, testing and evaluation, OCD, PCIT, and EMDR therapy. Our team is happy to also provide support for people dealing with relationship issues. Our couples therapists focus on marriage counseling, divorce discernment, and collaborative divorce. We also offer therapy for professionals, life coaching, and more. Contact Wellness Psychological Services in Tampa Bay, FL today to learn more.

205 S. Hoover Blvd. Ste 202
Tampa, FL 33609

(813) 563-1155

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