108 Ebley Street, Bondi Junction
Level 1, 70 Pitt St, Sydney CBD

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Our Approach

Mindfulthinking psychologists specialise in well researched mindfulness based psychology effective for treating depression, anxiety, stress and eating disorders.

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

What is Dialectical behaviour Therapy?

Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT)  was originally developed by an American psychologist named Marsha Linehan. It is based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), but has been adapted to meet the particular needs of people who experience emotions very intensely.

The goal of DBT is to help you learn to manage your difficult emotions by letting yourself experience, recognise and accept them. Then as you learn to accept and regulate your emotions, you also become more able to change your harmful behaviour. To help you achieve this, DBT therapists use a balance of acceptance and change techniques.

Acceptance techniques

Acceptance techniques focus on understanding yourself as a person, and making sense of why you might do things like self-harm or abuse drugs. A DBT therapist might suggest that this behaviour may have been the only way you have learned to deal with the intense emotions you feel – so even though it’s damaging to you in the long-term, and might be very alarming to other people, your behaviour actually makes sense.

Change techniques

DBT therapists use change techniques to encourage you to change your behaviour and learn more effective ways of dealing with your distress. They encourage you to replace behaviours that are harmful to you with behaviours that can help you move forward with your life. For example, you can learn how you can distract yourself from difficult emotions during crises, by engaging in activities, instead of self-harming. You can also start challenging your unhelpful thoughts and develop a more balanced way of looking at things.

DBT is effective for problems such as depression, feelings of hopelessness, eating disorders and self harm.

What is the difference between DBT and CBT?

  • CBT focuses on helping you to change unhelpful ways of thinking and behaving (see our page on CBT for more information).
  • DBT also helps you to change unhelpful behaviours, but it differs from CBT in that it also focuses on accepting who you are at the same time. DBT places particular importance on the relationship between you and your therapist, and this relationship is used to actively motivate you to change.

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