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How Dialectical Behavior Therapy Is Used in Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder

How Dialectical Behavior Treatment is Used in Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder

Individuals with Personality Disorders develop rigid, unhealthy patterns of thinking. These thoughts—and the behaviors they lead to—strain relationships, make it harder to perform routine tasks, and create other unique challenges that make everyday life more difficult.

If you have Borderline Personality Disorder, you’re not alone. Evidence-based treatment from a Licensed Clinical Psychologist gives you the help and support you need to live a complete and happy life. One such treatment is Dialectical Behavior Treatment, or DBT. Learn more about how Dialectical Behavior Treatment is used in the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder with this overview.

What is Dialectical Behavior Treatment?

Dialectical Behavior treatment is an evidence-based treatment modality that seeks to treat patients using psychological tools to reduce impulsive behaviors, harmful habits, and other negative symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder. Skilled Psychologists use DBT alongside other treatment modalities to create a tailored treatment plan that addresses the unique needs of patients.

The term “dialectical” refers to the integration of two opposing ideas. Because individuals with BPD often experience strict, black-and-white thinking, DBT is effective for restructuring thought patterns to promote more positive, balanced thoughts and behaviors.

Dialectical Behavior Treatment also addresses the need for both acceptance and change in mental health treatment. By integrating these seemingly opposite ideas, Licensed Clinical Psychologists can treat maladaptive thinking and behaviors caused by BPD.

DBT is a practical, skills-based treatment that uses four psychological techniques: distress tolerance, emotional regulation, mindfulness, and interpersonal effectiveness.

Distress Tolerance

Painful or stressful situations are an unfortunate but natural part of life. For individuals with BPD, though, negative situations can quickly spiral out of control and cause serious emotional distress. Distress tolerance skills help patients recognize these situations before they become psychologically damaging. Distress tolerance also teaches patients to accept their situation so that it doesn’t become overwhelming.

Emotional Regulation

Patients with BPD can experience emotions more intensely than those without a Mental Health Disorder. Similarly, BPD can cause emotions to change quickly and severely without warning. DBT teaches emotional regulation for patients to recognize and control their emotions before they become emotionally or physically harmful.


Mindfulness skills empower patients to build distress tolerance, emotional regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness skills. With the help of a skilled Psychologist, patients can use mindfulness to separate emotions from facts, enhance mental focus, and work through the harmful thought patterns that BPD causes.

Interpersonal Effectiveness

Interpersonal effectiveness revolves around the necessary skills to maintain healthy relationships in all aspects of life. These skills include communicating effectively, maintaining self-respect, practicing positive self-assertion, and avoiding harmful social skills such as being controlling or demanding. BPD and its symptoms hinder your ability to maintain functional relationships, but interpersonal effectiveness—along with other DBT skills—allows you to build stronger, healthier, happier relationships with friends, family, and others in your life.

The Efficacy of DBT in BPD Treatment

Licensed Clinical Psychologists use DBT to treat BPD by using the above skills to address and treat the unique challenges and symptoms of BPD. DBT allows patients to improve negative thought patterns and behaviors such as black-and-white thinking and intense emotions and mood swings.

At Blair Wellness Group, we use DBT alongside other evidence-based treatments to create specialized treatment plans for our clients. If you live with BPD or other Mental Health Conditions, Dr. Blair and the Personality Disorder Psychologists at Blair Wellness Group can help. Reach out today to start your journey toward control, stability, and a healthier, happier life.

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