Lifeskills Mental Health Blog

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Coping Skills

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Coping Skills

A major part of the human experience is working through complex and challenging emotions that we feel every day. These feelings can vary greatly depending on a wide range of factors and can change daily. When someone lives with a mental health condition that significantly affects their emotional state, finding the right treatment program is vital so they can learn effective coping techniques. One of the most utilized therapies that teaches coping skills is dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), which we use at Lifeskills South Florida to help individuals struggling with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and emotional dysregulation.

Read on to learn more about the coping skills associated with DBT and how these coping skills can help during treatment and beyond.

Mindfulness Practices

A vital component of DBT, mindfulness helps individuals live fully in the present moment without ruminating on the past or worrying about the future. Engaging in mindfulness allows us to identify the thoughts and behaviors we have accepted as part of ourselves and evaluate them without judgment.

For people undergoing DBT, mindfulness skills are broken down into two primary categories — the “what” skills and the “how” skills. “What” techniques help individuals identify what they’re focusing on (i.e., what’s currently happening, their awareness, and their emotions) and separate these components from their thoughts. The “how” techniques help individuals identify impactful mindfulness opportunities.

Improved Distress Tolerance

Moments of crisis can challenge even the most mindful individuals. Learning how to tolerate distressing situations and approach challenges is an important part of DBT. The coping skills associated with distress tolerance involve teaching individuals how to distract themselves from specific situations until they’ve calmed down enough to address the issues with a clear mind. Another coping technique involves self-soothing, which helps individuals relax and use their senses to feel more at peace.

Interpersonal Effectiveness

When we experience rapid mood changes and intense emotions, our ability to relate to the people around us is diminished. Interpersonal effectiveness focuses on teaching essential skills that help individuals build and maintain meaningful relationships with the people around them.  Combining active listening, social skills, and assertiveness training can help individuals respond in these situations and improve their interpersonal effectiveness.

Emotion Regulation

In certain situations, it can feel like our emotions are inescapable. However, instead of surrendering control of these emotions, DBT teaches individuals how to cultivate the necessary skills to better manage their emotional reactions and feel more in control. Emotion regulation skills that are taught during DBT include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Recognizing emotions
  • Understanding vulnerabilities
  • Promoting mindfulness without judgment
  • Avoiding giving in to strong emotional urges

Learn More About DBT Treatment 

At Lifeskills, we’re dedicated to helping our clients learn DBT coping techniques so they can live healthier and happier lives. Our compassionate staff works with each client to create an individualized treatment plan based on their diagnosis and specific needs. To learn more about our treatment programs and to get started today, call us at 954-953-1742 or fill out our contact form.



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