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Dialectical Behavior Therapy

  1. Safia C. Jackson,
  2. Marsha M. Linehan

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0274

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Jackson, S. C. and Linehan, M. M. 2010. Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–3.

Author Information

  1. University of Washington

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a comprehensive, multimodal cognitive-behavioral treatment developed for clients with complex and difficult-to-treat mental disorders. Originally developed to treat chronically suicidal clients, DBT evolved into a treatment for suicidal clients meeting criteria for borderline personality disorder (BPD). Since its development, DBT has been adapted to treat other problem behaviors in clients with BPD (including substance abuse and eating disorders), suicidal adolescents with BPD features, suicidal behavior in elderly with major depressive disorder, and individuals with antisocial personality disorder in forensic settings. DBT combines basic change strategies drawn from cognitive-behavioral therapy with acceptance-based strategies from Eastern meditative (Zen) and Western contemplative practices. The fundamental dialectical tension in DBT is between an emphasis on validation and acceptance of the client with a persistent attention to behavioral change.


  • dialectical behavior therapy;
  • cognitive-behavior therapy;
  • borderline personality disorder;
  • Linehan;
  • suicide;
  • self-injury;
  • empirically-supported treatments