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Mental Health
2 Min Read
Last Updated: 20.06.23

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT): skills for overcoming depression & emotional dysregulation

Attia engages in an interview with Shireen Rizvi, a clinical psychology professor, exploring dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) for mental health. They delve into DBT’s origins, its broader applications beyond borderline personality disorder, and its distinct components such as emotional regulation and mindfulness. Shireen offers practical examples and valuable insights into the skills of DBT, providing informative content for listeners.

Key Takeaways

High level takeaways from the episode.

Designed for individuals with complex mental health problems

  • Originally for suicidal or self-​​harming individuals
  • More structured and guided than traditional talk therapy
  • Evidence-​​based approach

Emotional Mind: state in which we are completely controlled by our emotions.

Reasonable Mind: state in which we are controlled by facts and logic, without strong emotions.

Wise Mind: intersection of Emotional Mind and Reasonable Mind, an example of dialectical synthesis.

DBT developed by Marsha Linehan

  • Originally focused on cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Incorporated dialectical philosophy and Zen mindfulness practices

Radical acceptance: accepting the present moment as it is

  • Can lead to experiencing joy and reducing suffering
  • Helps in dealing with difficult situations and emotions

Life is full of pain, both emotional and physical

  • Acceptance doesn’t mean not experiencing pain

Radical acceptance involves continuously turning the mind towards acceptance

  • Refusing to accept can take more mental resources and cause more problems in the long run

DBT addresses deficits in five domains:

  • Mindfulness — being aware of the present moment
  • Interpersonal effectiveness — conflict resolution, asking for things, saying no
  • Emotion regulation — labeling emotions, managing emotions, preventing extreme emotions
  • Distress tolerance — tolerating stressful situations without making them worse
  • Self-​​management — doing things you don’t want to do, managing behaviors

DBT was developed for individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

  • However, it can be beneficial for those without BPD or depression

Dear Man is a skill in the interpersonal effectiveness module of DBT

  • Helps individuals ask for something effectively or say no assertively

Mindfulness is central to DBT, but meditation is not required. Can take various forms (yoga, mindful walking, etc).

Linenhan Board of Certification (LBC) certifies DBT therapists

  • Certified therapists are likely good DBT clinicians
  • Start by looking up certified DBT therapists, but don’t rely solely on certification

Ask if the therapist is part of a DBT consultation team

  • Weekly consultation team meetings help therapists improve their adherence to DBT principles and their motivation


Applying Radical Acceptance in Different Situations


Dear Man Acronym in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy


Opposite Action in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy for Emotional Regulation



We recommend using this distillation as a supplemental resource to the source material.

  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT): skills for overcoming depression & emotional dysregulation

    Attia The Drive #219

    Attia explores dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) with Shireen Rizvi, delving into its origins, applications, and essential elements for addressing various mental health conditions.

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