Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is a treatment model that was developed by clinical psychologist Dr. Marsha Linehan in the late 1990’s.  It modified standard CBT approaches to be more suitable for use with people diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, a diagnosis characterized by intense suicidality, self harm and intense and violent emotions.  It can often co-exist with depression, substance abuse and anxiety disorders like Social Anxiety Disorder.

The core theory with DBT is of “Dialectics” or ideas in tension with each other, right and wrong, black and white and in the case of DBT the core dialectic of acceptance and change.  Linehan found that traditional CBT was too change focussed and that sufferers of Borderline Personality Disorder emotional validation and acceptance strategies to be able to utilise the change strategies of CBT.

How can DBT help if you have social anxiety?

DBT utilises the skills of mindfulness meditation to help people regulate their emotions and better self regulate their behaviour.  In doing so DBT was also one of the first therapeutic approaches to bring mindfulness skills into mainstream psychology.

Since it’s inception DBT has been modified to be an effective treatment for mood disorders such as social anxiety/phobia, and chemical dependency.

Kyle MacDonald was trained in DBT in 2003 and has worked in a DBT specialist treatment programme since then.  He has personally seen how effective the approaches of DBT can be for anxiety disorders including Social Anxiety Disorder.  He has incorporated many aspects of DBT into his treatment system for Overcoming Social Anxiety.com


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