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Understanding Counselling: Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Understanding Counselling:  Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Another addition to our series "Understanding Counselling", one of our Psychologists, Krisztina, gives us a high level understanding of, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).  Just one of the many tools in our team's toolbox.  

Understanding Counselling:  Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Krisztina Kelemen, MA, Registered Provisional Psychologist


Are you someone who 

  • wants to live in the moment instead of constantly worrying about the past and future,
  • wants to be able to regulate emotions effectively, 
  • wants to learn practical ways to manage stress and crisis situations, 
  • wants to improve your interpersonal relationships and overall, just simply wants to build a life worth living? 

If this sounds appealing to you and you are committed to making positive changes in your life, then Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) may just be the right type of therapy for you. Although DBT was originally developed to help people who struggle with suicidal and self-harming behaviors, it has quickly been proved that this type of therapy can be used very effectively to treat all sorts of issues such as trauma, self-esteem and relationship issues and even helpful for people living with various personality disorders. 
DBT is based on CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), however, DBT focuses on emotions rather than thoughts and is fully behaviorally focused as opposed to CBT. You may be able to bring some examples from your own life when you were unable to control intense, negative emotions in a healthy way. DBT can teach you specific skills to help you respond to the world around you in a much healthier way which will make you feel more confident and competent. 

There are 4 different skillset DBT is focusing on:

  1. Mindfulness skills: learn how to focus on the present moment without judgement and without attaching to the moment. If you are mindful, you don’t just react without thinking, but take some time before you react.
  2. Distress Tolerance skills: learn how to get through crisis situations through accepting reality and without making things worse. 
  3. Emotion Regulation skills: learn to recognize, understand, and have more control over your emotions and to change unwanted emotions.
  4. Interpersonal effectiveness skills: learn to build and maintain better relationships and increase self-respect in relationships. This include learning how to be more assertive and how to set boundaries with others. 

Remember that you can’t control the winds, but you can control the sails. Learning and practising DBT skills can help you accept the stormy winds and control your sails so you can live a life worth living.

Reach out to us today to find the right therapist who can guide you to become a skillful sailor of your life.

A typical session is 60 minutes but depending on the presenting concerns and the size of your family, it may be suggested to have 90-minute sessions. The length and frequency of sessions will be collaboratively determined with your psychologist.

Unfortunately, this is not possible to say on a general FAQs page. Everyone’s circumstances are unique to them and the length of time therapy can take to allow you to accomplish your goals depends on your desire for personal development, your commitment, and the factors that are driving you to seek therapy in the first place.

Refresh Counselling North:  4039 Brentwood Rd NW

Just off of Breisbois Drive and Crowchild Trail in the NW, pop into "the Village at Brentwood" one of the more exciting redevelopments in NW Calgary.  Head into the building, go up the stairs (or elevator) and turn left.  Then follow the sign on the left to Refresh Counselling offices. Have seat in the waiting room and your therapist will meet you as soon as your session starts.


Refresh Counselling South:  340 Midpark Way SE, Suite 300

As soon as you get to the building, park in any guest parking spot or anywhere that says "Fish Creek Executive".  Head up the elevator to the 3rd floor and enter the Fish Creek Executive Offices.  Let reception know which therapist you're meeting with and have a seat.  They will come and get you.

Both! In light of recent events, our psychologists have adapted to providing effective group and individual services online but in-person appointments are also available. Your psychologist can discuss both options with you and your family and provide some direction for what might be good for your family.

Every couple’s journey to finding a connection and strengthening their relationship is unique. Generally, couples will attend sessions once per week, but your therapist understands that schedules can be difficult to coordinate. When you choose to pursue counselling to create change in your relationship, it is important to prioritize that effort. Your psychologist can help jcreate a schedule that works for you. And as for how long it will take? There is no definite answer, but you can discuss your goals with your counsellor, and they will work hard to help you get there as efficiently as possible.

Your Partner In Wellness

Your Partner In Wellness

Refresh Counselling is committed to providing the most elevated mental health services to our patients in at either of our locations in Calgary and across Alberta. We promise to meet you where you are, provide insight and a safe space, and help you get to where you want to be. Take advantage of our complimentary consultation to connect with a psychologist who can be your expert guide as you journey towards mental health and well-being. Book now in Jane, our virtual system.

Gain Clarity... Find Wellness

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