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Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)

An intensive approach to help you manage difficult emotions.

What is DBT?

This video gives a sense of how DBT can help you manage emotions effectively and healthily.  Marsha Linehan, the person who founded DBT, describes some of the ways in which DBT helps people regulate their emotions. 

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive behavioural treatment which has been shown to be effective in treating a wide range of conditions such as personality disorder, substance dependence, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and eating disorders.

What does “dialectical” mean?

The term “dialectical” means a synthesis or integration of opposites. The primary dialectic within DBT is between the seemingly opposite strategies of acceptance and change. For example, DBT therapists accept clients as they are while also acknowledging that they need to change in order to reach their goals. In addition, all of the skills and strategies taught in DBT are balanced in terms of acceptance and change. For example, the four skills modules include two sets of acceptance-oriented skills (mindfulness and distress tolerance) and two sets of change-oriented skills (emotion regulation and interpersonal effectiveness).

Number of months needed for lasting change.

Thanks to [Dr Rebecca and DBT] I am better equipped to deal with all the stresses, fears and challenges that life throws at us.

Male, 27

What can you expect from DBT at Vivamus?

Dr. Rebecca is currently providing DBT at Vivamus.  As DBT is a commitment-based therapy and requires clients to attend for a minimum of 6 months with 2 sessions per week you will first work with your psychologist to develop an accurate assessment formulation and treatment plan, whereby you both agree whther there is a need for this therapeutic approach. Following this you and your psychologist will agree on your target behaviours i.e. those areas in which you wish to see behavioural change according to the treatment hierarchy. Treatment will then commence with two sessions per week, one for skills training and one for individual therapy. 

For those, clients not meeting the criteria for intensive psychotherapy, you and your psychologist will decide whether to use a different therapeutic approach such as CBT or to engage in a condensed version of DBT such as all or part of the skills training component.  It is possible to engage in skills training whilst you are seeing another psychologist. However, it is not possible to engage in individual therapy with two psychologists concurrently.

DBT includes four sets of behavioural skills.

1. Mindfulness: This is the practice of staying in the moment and reducing vulnerability to pain of the past or possible future pain. 

2. Distress Tolerance: These skills assist in tolerating crisis situations and reducing harmful behaviours. 

3. Interpersonal Effectiveness: These skills assist in maintaining relationships with others, being able to set personal boundaries and to be able to ask for help when needed. 

4. Emotional Regulation: Helping you achieve more balance in emotions and reducing vulnerability to emotional pain. 


+971 (0) 4 4403844

Unit 203, 2nd Floor, Building 49
Dubai Healthcare City, right next door to City Hospital

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