Why Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

© 2017 Amanda L. Smith, LCSW

I love dialectical behavior therapy.

As a highly sensitive person who experiences their emotions intensely, learning dialectical behavior therapy (or DBT) has made a profound and lasting difference in my own life. Now that I’m a social worker, I continue to use the skills I learned in DBT every single day but I’m also in the position of sharing my joyful enthusiasm for this compassionate and highly-effective treatment with others.

DBT was originally developed by University of Washington psychologist Marsha Linehan to help people who were diagnosed with borderline personality disorder but the treatment has now been adapted for individuals suffering from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, addictions, and even attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. 

While DBT is based in cognitive behavior therapy (or CBT), Dr. Linehan found that a key to her clients’ success was to balance both acceptance and change in their lives. It was because of this reason that she included mindfulness, validation strategies, and dialectics to standard CBT. Because the goal of DBT is to help people create lives worth living, the treatment can be helpful to anyone interested in making positive and lasting changes.

" . . . Dr. Linehan found that a key
to her clients’ success
was to balance
both acceptance
and change in their lives
. . .

I've written a helpful tool, The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Wellness Planner, to be used by anyone using DBT to work toward building a healthier and more meaningful life using your DBT skills. It can be used to track emotions and behaviors while monitoring progress towards recovery goals. It’s also designed so that it can be started on any date so you can get started right away. Although DBT was specifically designed for those suffering with BPD, it can be used by anyone who wants to get their lives back on track.

Remember: There is no substitute for working with a licensed mental health professional. The planner is not intended to take the place of an adherent dialectical behavior therapy treatment program.

If you find that you like DBT as much as I do, I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me at amanda@mydialecticallife.com. 

Above all else, don’t ever give up.


Amanda L. Smith, LCSW, is the founder of Hope for BPD where she provides treatment consultation and case management for clients around the world. Her book, The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Wellness Planner has become a must-have for anyone dealing with Borderline Personality Disorder, intense emotions, ADHD, and other issues. She also publishes My Dialectical Life--a daily email dedicated to DBT skills. Amanda received her MSW at Baylor University and is currently working as a DBT therapist in Waco, Texas. Amanda's website is www.HopeforBPD.com.

In support of Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month, The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Wellness Planner is on sale through the end of May for $19.95. Regular price is $29.95. Get it here.


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