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Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Assumption #4

Spotlight on Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)

The Four Basic Assumptions
(DBT-Family Skills Training, Perry Hoffman, 1999, 2003)

1. There is no one truth or any absolute truth, but usually two or more truths.

2. Everyone is doing the best they can.

3. Everyone needs to try harder.

4. Interpret situations in the most benign way possible.


Interpret situations in the most benign way possible.
– Perry Hoffman, cited in The Four Basic Assumptions from DBT Family Skills Training

Psychology Today: Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) provides clients with new skills to manage painful emotions and decrease conflict in relationships. DBT specifically focuses on providing therapeutic skills in four key areas. First, mindfulness focuses on improving an individual’s ability to accept and be present in the current moment. Second, distress tolerance is geared toward increasing a person’s tolerance of negative emotion, rather than trying to escape from it. Third, emotion regulation covers strategies to manage and change intense emotions that are causing problems in a person’s life. Fourth, interpersonal effectiveness consists of techniques that allow a person to communicate with others in a way that is assertive, maintains self-respect, and strengthens relationships.

WebMD: Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy tries to identify and change negative thinking patterns and pushes for positive behavioral changes. DBT may be used to treat suicidal and other self-destructive behaviors.

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