What is DBT?

If you or someone close to you is struggling with mental health disorders or substance abuse, you might have researched the best treatment and found things like CBT and DBT. Now you are wondering, “what is DBT” and “is DBT a good fit for me.”

Contact us today to learn more about our outpatient mental health services and how Water Gap Wellness Center can help.

What is DBT?

Dialectical behavioral therapy, DBT, is a form of evidence-based treatment that stems from cognitive behavioral therapy. 

Cognitive behavioral therapy helps people understand the relationship between their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Dialectical refers to combining ideas opposite to one another, allowing people with intense emotions to accept that their emotions might be opposite from reality.

DBT focuses on emotions, mindfulness, and acceptance-oriented interventions. During the span of DBT counseling, individuals learn how to eliminate unhelpful behaviors and find a balance between intense emotions and reality.

How DBT Counseling Works

When you participate in DBT sessions, the overarching goal is to find a balance between accepting who you are and accepting the benefits of Behavioral changes. During your sessions, the therapist will work with you to provide new skills to help you better regulate your emotions.

What your individual sessions look like will vary from one therapist to the next, but in general, you will go through several levels of DBT counseling.


The first is your assessment. During this time, your therapist will ask you a series of questions and explain what you should expect during dialectical behavioral therapy and rehab. Once you decide that this is a good option for you moving forward, you’ll be able to set up an ongoing structure based on the length of your treatment and the number of sessions you’ll have each week. 

Individual Therapy

DBT generally starts with individual therapy sessions, which are one hour in length. These sessions will have individual goals like:

  • Helping you limit harmful behaviors that are impeding your productivity
  •  helping you improve your quality of life by reaching goals for personal relationships or mental health
  •  helping you acquire new skills to replace harmful or unhelpful behaviors

Just like cbt, you will be assigned a certain level of homework, usually a diary in which you keep track of your emotions and behaviors. Throughout your treatment, this diary will serve as the foundation for finding behavioral patterns you want to work on. 

Group Therapy

You’ll also participate in group sessions which are designed to help you and other group members learn from one another. You’ll practice skills like:

  • Mindfulness
  • Distress tolerance
  • Interpersonal effectiveness
  • Emotional regulation

Mindfulness can help you remain focused in the present moment rather than ruminating over the past or worrying about the future. Distress tolerance can give you the skills to manage emotions in stressful situations without behaving poorly. Interpersonal effectiveness can help you figure out how to set boundaries for yourself and others to cultivate better emotional regulation.

DBT Counseling: What it Can Treat

Dialectical behavioral therapy is often used as a form of talk therapy for any condition where people experience intense emotions. DBT counseling is often utilized in the treatment of borderline personality disorders.

DBT counseling has proved effective for treating multiple mental health conditions that are associated with problematic or unhealthy abilities to control negative emotions, including the following:

  • Borderline personality disorder
  • PTSD
  • Substance abuse disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Depression
  • Anxiety 

Dialectical Behavior Therapy in Rehab

Dialectical behavior therapy in rehab can be used for:

  • Regular substance abuse treatment
  • Dual diagnosis treatment

You can participate in dialectical behavior therapy in rehab, whether in a residential or outpatient program. Many treatment facilities have professional psychiatrists, psychologists, or family therapists who are well-versed in CBT and DBT.

Why Choose Water Gap Wellness Center

Water Gap Wellness Center is one of them. 

With Water Gap Wellness Center, you can find peace at our tranquil facility; you can step away from everyday stresses and relax in our natural environment, supported by a team of trained professionals who help you succeed. We provide personalized treatment plans based on your initial assessment and ongoing progress.

When you reach out to our admissions team, they will help you complete your initial evaluation and then conduct an assessment when you start your recovery plan. During that time will help determine whether dialectical behavioral therapy in rehab is a good fit.

Many clients benefit from flexible scheduling options to get treatment while continuing with personal or professional obligations. That is why we provide several levels of outpatient treatment, each of which can include DBT Counseling in an individual or group setting.

Contact Water Gap Wellness Center at (877) 414-3281 to learn more about DBT counseling and how it can help.

About WGWC

Water Gap Wellness Center offers expert and compassionate treatment for mental health and substance abuse at our Pennsylvania facility, just outside New Jersey, a short drive from New York. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you today. 

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