Emotions serve important functions in our lives. Primary emotions linked to anxiety, such as fear, can at times make perfect sense – when there is a threat to our life, health, or well-being, fear can motivate us to act and protect ourselves. At times, however, emotions like fear arise when they are not helpful or productive. These emotions can be difficult to cope with and manage, leading to anxiety and distress.
DBT works through the process of learning emotional and cognitive skills (acquisition) and subsequently applying those skills to your life (generalization). Generally, DBT tackles difficult and distressing emotions and it can help you improve your capacity for emotional regulation, that is, your ability to control the emotions you have, when you have them, and how you experience and express them.
Using DBT to Develop Emotional Skills and Alleviate Anxiety
Comprehensive DBT consists of several parts, including individual therapy with a trained therapist, group skills training, skills coaching (often available by telephone), and the therapist’s participation in a consultation team. All these parts work together to ensure that DBT offers skills you can put into practice to make you feel more in control and in charge of how you feel and how you live in your surroundings. If you are living with an anxiety disorder, you probably know that feeling in control of yourself is an extremely valuable, validating feeling.
DBT Fills in the Gaps Left by Regular CBT