DBT falls under the broad umbrella of cognitive behavioral treatment interventions. It was initially targeted to help people with chronic tendencies toward self-injury or suicide, but it has since been successfully applied to depression, anxiety, and eating disorders.
DBT is based on a number of different assumptions about how disorders develop and how best to treat them. First, from cognitive behavioral therapy, DBT borrows the notion that our thoughts, actions, and emotions are all closely linked. Emphasizing practical changes that can produce positive results is prioritized over exploring causation and history.
DBT also stresses the importance of validation of an individual’s previous experience and actions. By recognizing that an individual’s response to life situations is understandable, therapy assists in putting individuals in a better frame of mind for accepting the need for change.
DBT also utilizes principles of dialectics, the notion that two opposing ideas can simultaneously be true, and that accepting them both allows us to better understand the truth. For example, an individual might be taught that they should both love and value themselves as they are, but also recognize that change is necessary.