DBT was founded in 1970 by Marsha Linehan. It was first used with borderline personality disorder, but has also proven successful for depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and more.

Dialectical is defined as “acting through opposing forces”. In Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), you are taught 2 contrasting strategies:

Acceptance (i.e. that your experiences and behaviours are valid)


Change (i.e. that you have to make positive changes to manage emotions and move forward)

The 4 Modules of DBT

DBT skills are divided into 4 modules:

  • Mindfulness
    • The core of DBT
    • You will learn to be present in each moment and attend to the current situation
    • Aim is to decrease confusion and inaccurate thinking while increasing self-understanding and attention
  • Distress Tolerance
    • Used in those instances when emotions are heightened
    • This skill allows you to take control of your emotions rather than your emotions controlling you
    • Aim is to decrease impulsiveness and increase the ability to tolerate and accept the distress you feel
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness
    • Helps you learn how to be effective in all relationships while keeping self-respect
    • Aim is to reduce chaos and increase your ability to meet your needs
  • Emotional Regulation
    • De-escalate yourself by stepping back and thinking about how to handle the situation effectively, rather than on impulse
    • Understanding what you are feeling reduces emotional vulnerability and suffering
Smart Art of the 4 modules of DBT

The skills within the 4 modules are learned over the course of 12 weeks. Completing all of the sessions, doing your daily practice and exercises, and being engaged in the program will set you up for a greater guarantee of success.


If you think Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is right for you, call us today or book online to get started.

Interested in learning more?

Read on in our series of articles on Mental Health Counselling!

About the Author - Joan Chambers

woman facing camera

Joan Chambers is a registered social worker with OCSWSSW who graduated with Honours from the University of Western Ontario – King's University College. Joan has been working in the social work field for the past 20 years in various roles.  Over the past 13 years, Joan has been working with families with a strong emphasis on adult mental health in Alberta. During her time in Alberta, she was a member of the team that assisted displaced families of the  Alberta Floods in 2013. During that time, Joan added new knowledge to her portfolio:  Skilled for Psychological Recovery, and certified as HeartMath facilitator transforming stress.

Joan continues to make learning a part of her practice. Over the years, Joan has acquired Child & Youth Care certification, trained in Dialectical Behaviour Techniques (DBT), studied Tradition of Caring Model, Neurosequential Model of Trauma (NMT), ASSIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills), and carries certification in Nonviolent Crisis Intervention.

Joan's passion for helping others comes from being a trauma survivor herself. She comes with a deep understanding of people and their needs, which led Joan to choose a career in this field.  Joan is compassionate and caring for others through her flexibility and effective listening.  Joan's approach is strength-based and takes on tasks with respect, professionalism, and competence.

To book in please call us at (519) 442-2206 or click here.

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