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Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

The goal of DBT is to help you build a life worth living. 

Many people seek DBT when they are experiencing painful emotions or suicidal thoughts and perhaps have developed some unhelpful patterns of coping (ex. self harm, substance misuse, risky sexual behaviours etc).  DBT, sometimes referred to as the third wave of CBT, expands our skills beyond changing, to also include learning to accept that which we cannot change.  The “D” in DBT, stands for dialectic, meaning that you can hold two seemingly opposing ideas at the same time- like change AND acceptance.  

DBT helps you cultivate 4 main sets of skills: 

Mindfulness.  Simply put, mindfulness is a particular way of paying attention.  It involves being present to the moment, single-focused and non judgmental.  While many of us may be able to do this under ideal conditions, like a peaceful yoga retreat, with DBT you are asked to bring increased awareness to emotions, physical sensations or thoughts throughout your daily life.  

Distress tolerance. The foundational skill of mindfulness is not for the faint of heart.  When we start to pay attention to our experience, we may start to notice the pain we are carrying.  Distress tolerance teaches the skills needed to make different choices in the face of that pain; choices that don’t make the situation worse.  

Emotion regulation. Name it to tame it.  DBT teaches the helpful skills of being able to name and express emotion, while also filling your tool box with strategies to help you soothe and respond to your feelings with more intentional, appropriate action.  And let’s not forget that regulating emotions starts with taking good care of the foundations of health through a balanced lifestyle. 

Interpersonal effectiveness. The goal of this set of skills is to help you build and maintain positive relationships.  With increased self-awareness, you will learn how to express yourself clearly and assertively, set boundaries, say no and ask for what you need.  


While other therapists use DBT as a stand alone modality, I tend to weave these skills into our work together. 

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Wise Mind

The rational mind uses logic and reasoning to guide actions. 

The emotional mind uses feelings to guide actions. 

The wise mind takes feelings and logic into consideration when making decisions 

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