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Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Emotion Regulation

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a form of modified Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy that was developed in the late 80's by Dr. Marsha Linehan, a psychology researcher at the University of Washington, initially for the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).  In fact, Dr. Linehan herself suffered from BPD, which is how she was able to develop such a highly effective therapy.  People with BPD can struggle with unstable relationships and self-image, abandonment fears, impulsivity, suicidality and self-harming behaviors, feelings of emptiness, intense anger, and/or mood reactivity. 

At the core of the disorder is unresolved trauma.  Via DBT, clients are often able to stablize enough to work through their trauma.  DBT consists of four modules that are learned and implemented into daily life.  They are 1) Mindfulness Skills (learning how to live in the present moment), 2) Emotion Regulation Skills, 3) Distress Tolerance Skills, and 4) Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills.  There is much hope for individuals who suffer from BPD.  Follow up studies indicate that half of all people diagnosed with the disorder no longer meet criteria after 10 years.  Additionally, research shows that DBT is effective in treating substance abuse, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anger, and eating disorders.

Dr. Rojas is one of the few psychotherapists in the Boston area to be trained in DBT through the Linehan Institute.