Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is a psychotherapy that was originally designed specifically for people with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), although it has since been found to be helpful in treating other mental health conditions. It has been found to be effective in helping people with BPD to stay in treatment, manage emotions, reduce distress, improve relationships, reduce suicidal and self-harming behaviours, improve mood disorders such as anxiety and depression, and reduce hospitalisation.

People with BPD tend to experience emotions much more intensely, and are often highly reactive compared to other people. DBT focuses on addressing these difficulties and the unhelpful behaviours that result from them. DBT can be delivered in both a group and individual format, and attending both group and individual DBT sessions has been found to be the most effective way to undertake this therapy.

There are four core components of DBT – Mindfulness, Emotion Regulation, Distress Tolerance, and Interpersonal Skills. These skills assist a person to learn and practice more ‘adaptive’ behaviours – effective and helpful ways to manage emotions and respond and interact.


Helps us to be more present, more centred, and find a better balance between our emotional thinking and our rational thinking – referred to as “Wise Mind” in DBT.

Emotion Regulation

Helps to decrease volatile moods and decrease vulnerability to high levels of emotion that are intensely and easily triggered. This can include increasing awareness and understanding of emotions, identifying barriers to effectively managing emotions, and increasing positive emotional events.

Distress Tolerance

Largely, these skills involve getting through crises and overwhelm. This can include learning strategies such as self-soothing, distraction techniques, and acceptance.

Interpersonal Skills

Learning practical, effective ways to interact with people around you. It can help with assertiveness, appropriately getting your needs met, coping with relationship conflicts, and improving relationships.

Our clinicians at The Hummingbird Centre are skilled and experienced in a range of therapies including DBT.

Page Last Updated: 26 November 2020