Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)

“Be empty of worrying
Think of who created thought
Why do you stay in prison
When the door is so wide open
Move outside the tangle of fear thinking
Live in silence
Flow down and down
Into always widening
Rings of being”

Kasi is a trained DBT Skills Group Facilitator. She has also received additional training through Behavioural Tech.
Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) helps work through big emotions. Coping skills to help address emotion regulation and interpersonal skills.

Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) teaches you all about coping skills. This therapeutic style works really well for folks who want specific tools to help them feel better. DBT will provide you with strategies to use in the middle of emotional crises. It will guide you in resolving conflicts. It helps you step out of that pattern of endless worries and brings you to mindfully notice the present day.

DBT shifts out of extreme thinking. Using mindfulness and other coping strategies.

DBT can help you find the middle ground, rather than thinking in terms of extremes. It shifts you out of that all-or-nothing thinking into a place of moderation. DBT helps you to find that balance between accepting what has happened (as awful and distressing as circumstances may have been) AND change how you move forward.

DBT is type of therapy that was initially created to help individuals with borderline personality disorder. It has supported individuals who have struggled with multiple suicide attempts and ongoing relational and emotional crises. This counselling model recognizes that some individuals are more emotionally vulnerable: they are more sensitive when conflict and stress happen, and they have a harder time calming down once triggered. 

How does DBT work? 

DBT helps individuals by teaching them how to build numerous coping skills, such as:


Rather than getting stuck in our worries (often about future events) or becoming fixated about our mistakes, mindfulness helps us become aware of the present moment. When our anxieties and traumas haunt us, they take away from the safety of the present moment. Mindfulness helps bring us back. This coping skill teaches us to notice with our senses. It helps to participate in activities without judging ourselves and without trying to make changes. It builds our capacity to tolerate and to accept what’s going on.

Distress Tolerance

Crises happen, and they are tough. You may suffer from panic attacks. Perhaps you find yourself among a stressful series of life events. You might find that you can’t seem to catch a break, and you feel you’re at the breaking point. In the past, you may have coped by becoming enraged, shutting down or avoidance.

Distress tolerance skills is all about dealing with these hard moments. This set of coping skills helps us better handle these challenging moments without making our circumstances harder. These skills don’t fix the actual problem. Instead, they help you skillfully get through these moments.

Emotion Regulation

Do you have a hard time calming down? Do you find that when you are offended, it’s really hard to “get over it”? Emotion regulation is a set of coping skills that teaches us how to become less susceptible to mood swings. Rather than being on that constant emotional roller coaster, these tools help you feel more grounded.

Interpersonal Effectiveness

These sets of skills empower you in social situations. The strategies taught with interpersonal effectiveness help you become more assertive, set boundaries, speak up for yourself, show more interest, and learn to validate others’ perspectives. At the end of the day, it helps you have less arguments and gain stronger relationships.

What does a DBT session look like?

DBT sessions in Kitchener, Ontario and online. DBT to help manage big emotions, stress and daily life struggles. learning coping skills.

I use predominantly IFS and EMDR in my counselling approaches and integrate DBT skills for clients when needed. The start of therapy can be the most challenging. Life feels awful. Relationships feel awful. You feel awful. While the therapy session went great, it’s hard to survive off of that positivity until the next appointment.

I recognize that it can be really challenging to manage during the week in between sessions and DBT skills are a wonderful way to balance this transition. When clients are struggling, I support them in learning DBT strategies to cope in the interim, while also working to create permanent shifts by addressing the original wounds.

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©Donna Roe Daniell

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