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DBT Therapy for Depression: How It Works?

DBT therapy for depression
Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology

Umar Javed



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Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) was initially developed to treat emotional dysregulation experienced by people with borderline personality disorder [1*] (BPD). But now, mental health professionals are discovering that DBT skills training provides more opportunities. It may be applied in outpatient psychiatry care to treat the signs and symptoms of depression and various other mental disorders: bulimia, binge eating, PTSD [2*] , bipolar disorder, and substance abuse.

Everyone who wants to deal with life’s issues more effectively, in general, might genuinely benefit from knowing and acquiring the skills in DBT therapy. Let’s explore DBT and its effectiveness in treating depression.

If you want to know which therapy plan is most appropriate for you, consult a doctor.

What Is DBT Therapy?

DBT [3*] is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) designed specifically for people who experience intense emotions. DBT techniques assist you in transforming your life for the better by:

  • Helping to recognize and accept your challenging emotions.
  • Enhancing your capacity to control emotions.
  • Teaching how to control them and be more present in the moment.
  • Helping to communicate and interact with others successfully.
  • Giving the tools needed to deal with harmful behaviors and stop them.

Depression Symptoms Treated with DBT

DBT for depression strongly emphasizes patience and validation, two qualities that many depressives find lacking. When someone has depression, they frequently feel unworthy, which leads to an overpowering sensation of sadness that invalidates almost every part of their life.

DBT gives patients room to master healthy coping skills to confront their problems and eventually find freedom from them. Dialectical behavior therapy is successful in treating many symptoms of depression [4*] , such as the following:

  • Having trouble paying attention, thinking, or remembering
  • Prolonged sadness or irritability
  • Absence of interest in formerly enjoyable activities
  • Recurring suicidal thoughts
  • Physical symptoms such as headaches or persistent discomfort

For online depression treatment consult mental health experts at MEDvidi.

3 Basic DBT Therapy Techniques

Dialectical behavior therapy has several techniques. Depending on the patient, their concerns, and the capacity of the person to use DBT skills for depression, the therapist may choose which technique is most appropriate for the individual.

The following are some general DBT techniques for depression [5*] :

DBT skills for depression

1. Emotional Control

Many people who are first recommended for DBT have extremely strong and intense emotional states (for example, suicidal patients or those with borderline personality disorder). DBT has produced a variety of activities for comprehending and controlling emotions. This frequently entails a structured approach that includes the following:

  • the ability to recognize emotions, lowering one’s susceptibility to reactive behaviors that might result from emotional states.
  • identifying barriers to changing emotions.
  • learning to take opposite actions.
  • using stress management for stress tolerance.

2. Mindfulness

Mindfulness is actually an extremely old and well-established technique in several therapy approaches. The ability to give one’s entire attention to what is happening right now while remaining nonjudgmental and experiencing the present as it unfolds is referred to as mindfulness. Although it is a skill that takes much more effort than one may think, this exercise enables one to evaluate and analyze occurrences in their environment with objectivity.

CBT or DBT for depression? For the right treatment option for your symptoms, consult a mental health professional.

3. Tolerating stress/distress

DBT intervention aims to help clients accept stressful and painful situations without being judgmental. As a result, they may accept more constructive criticism and act more constructively to address problems within their control. For instance, while previous events, like the death of a loved one, are beyond our control, we may learn to limit the stress they cause. In several variations of cognitive behavioral therapy, including DBT, the use of stress management techniques is commonplace.

In Conclusion

DBT programs for depression can assist you in controlling unpleasant feelings and creating useful coping mechanisms for whatever difficulties you may be experiencing. You’ll attempt to strike a balance between acceptance and transformation with the aid of your therapist. MEDvidi offers personalized treatment plans for depression, and DBT therapy can be a good treatment option for depression.


5 sources
  1. Dialectical behavior therapy for borderline personality disorder: A meta-analysis using mixed-effects modeling.
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  2. Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (DBT-PTSD) Compared With Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) in Complex Presentations of PTSD in Women Survivors of Childhood Abuse: A Randomized Clinical Trial. (2020)
    Source link
  3. Dialectical Behavior Therapy. (2006)
    Source link
  4. Dialectical Behavior Therapy Decreases Depressive Symptoms Among Adolescents in an Acute-Care Inpatient Unit. (2020)
    Source link
  5. Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Depressed Older Adults: A Randomized Pilot Study. (2003)
    Source link
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Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology

Umar Javed



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This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts.

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This article contains scientific references. The numbers
in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.