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The Power of DBT in Treating BPD

New York City, Brooklyn, woman with cell phone sitting at the waterfront looking up the power of DBT skills in treating BPD

May is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) Awareness Month, so it’s the perfect time to talk about a treatment approach that works exceptionally well for people with this condition: Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). In this blog, we’ll discuss the power of DBT in treating BPD and how it differs from other treatments, plus dispel some myths and stigma around BPD.

It can be hard to find effective treatments for BPD. When you put your effort into something, and it doesn’t work, it’s easy to feel like nothing will. But studies have shown that DBT consists of valuable skills in helping those with BPD manage difficult emotions and behaviors, allowing them to lead a more fulfilling life. So, if you’re living with BPD, know that hope is out there! Let’s look at DBT and why it might be the right fit for you.




Why is DBT Different?

If you’re living with BPD, you know that finding the right treatment path can be difficult, especially if you or someone you know has been unsuccessful with traditional treatments. That’s why DBT has a unique and powerful place in your treatment journey.

This evidence-based practice breaks away from traditional treatments to bring its own set of specialized skills to managing BPD. It’s a unique approach to mental health that combines cognitive-behavioral modalities with mindfulness and acceptance skills to provide those with BPD the tools they need to help manage their mental health.

DBT offers in-the-moment skills training

DBT introduces a new way of thinking and reacting that allows for more self-acceptance and understanding, ultimately helping people create lives worth living. During DBT treatment, clients receive hands-on skills training to improve the four main areas that can impact well-being: mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and emotion regulation. These skills, broken down into step-by-step protocols, can give individuals with BPD the foundational capabilities needed to create and sustain gainful employment and meaningful relationships.

Additionally, DBT is helpful because it provides practical coping skills used immediately rather than waiting for long-term goals, such as identifying the root cause of self-defeating behavior. In this way, DBT emphasizes mindful practice rather than intellectual insight.

Young Latin man portrait looking in front of camera practicing in-the-moment DBT skills of mindfulness.

DBT is tailored specifically for people with BPD

Symptoms such as high suicidality and risk-taking behaviors, as well as mood swings and difficulty forming close relationships, have earned those with Borderline personality disorder a reputation as being difficult to work with. However, clinicians—when armed with DBT—have a roadmap and a way of working with these clients that is proven to be effective.

Another important aspect demonstrating the power of DBT in treating BPD is that it focuses on the present moment, considering how here-and-now behaviors may reduce symptoms of BPD. With guidance from borderline personality disorder specialists, people can learn valuable skills to manage their symptoms effectively, allowing growth and progress.

Suffolk DBT for Treating BPD

At Suffolk DBT, we truly believe in the power of DBT in treating BPD to help people with this diagnosis feel more in control of their lives. Our expert borderline personality disorder specialists equip our clients with the necessary skills to reclaim their mental well-being. From learning how to regulate emotions through behavior change techniques and distress tolerance strategies, our therapists help clients put these coping techniques into practice so they can manage their symptoms in healthy and productive ways.

This approach is often more effective than traditional one-on-one therapy because DBT skips straight to the solution by providing the tools people with BPD need and building meaningful relationships along the way rather than attempting the inverse.

DBT offers people a roadmap to regaining control of their mental well-being—and here at Suffolk DBT, we have skilled borderline personality disorder specialists ready to help you do just that!

Using DBT Skills Modules to Treat BPD

DBT teaches four skills to create long-lasting behavior change and emotional stability: mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and emotion regulation.


It’s no secret that mindfulness is one of the most powerful tools within DBT. The purpose of mindfulness is to increase awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations. The goal is to help you become less emotionally reactive and to help you experience more peace in the present moment.

At Suffolk DBT, we often incorporate mindful awareness meditation into our therapy sessions to bring a sense of calmness and stillness into the room. This form of meditation helps clients learn how to stay present in their bodies without trying to make anything go away or change. In addition, this practice helps cultivate inner resources for resilience that can be used later in life when faced with difficult situations.

Distress Tolerance

People with BPD often struggle with intense and overwhelming emotions, which can lead to impulsive and self-destructive behaviors. Through the use of distress tolerance skills, individuals with BPD can learn to tolerate intense emotions without acting on them and reduce their risk of engaging in harmful behaviors. These skills include mindfulness, self-soothing, and distraction techniques that can help individuals cope with distressing situations and reduce their emotional intensity.

DBT’s emphasis on distress tolerance provides individuals with BPD with tools to manage their emotions and reduce their risk of experiencing crises, helping them to achieve a more stable and fulfilling life.

Interpersonal EffectivenessCouple of cyclist in New York, representing clients of Suffolk DBT putting their interpersonal effectiveness DBT skills to use.

For individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), interpersonal difficulties are often a primary symptom, which can lead to instability in their relationships and intense emotional distress. Through learning and practicing interpersonal effectiveness skills, individuals with BPD can improve their ability to communicate their needs effectively, establish boundaries, and maintain healthy relationships.

These skills also help individuals with BPD manage their emotions and reduce their risk of engaging in impulsive behaviors that may harm themselves or others. DBT’s emphasis on interpersonal effectiveness provides individuals with BPD a foundation to develop healthy, fulfilling relationships and a more stable sense of self.

Emotion Regulation

One of the most powerful aspects of DBT for treating BPD is its emphasis on emotional regulation. Through the use of emotion regulation skills, individuals with BPD can learn to identify and label their emotions accurately, understand their triggers and patterns, and use effective strategies to regulate their emotions. These skills include mindfulness, cognitive restructuring, and problem-solving techniques that help individuals with BPD manage their emotions in healthy and adaptive ways.

DBT’s emphasis on emotion regulation provides individuals with BPD with tools to manage their emotions and reduce their risk of engaging in harmful behaviors, improving their overall quality of life. Ultimately, DBT can teach you how to make sense of emotions so that they become less overwhelming.

New York, New York City, female on Brooklyn Bridge in the morning light searching for borderline personality disorder specialists.

True Power of DBT in Treating BPD in New York

Learning and practicing these skills are important in helping people with BPD become aware of their emotions and accept them without judgment. Through these helpful coping mechanisms, our borderline personality disorder specialists can help you translate valuable insight into meaningful lifestyle changes that make BPD more manageable.

While the stigma around BPD and its fear can be daunting, treatment with DBT skills can provide hope and guidance for the challenge. DBT combines cognitive, behavioral, and emotional skills that effectively manage BPD symptoms and promote healthy interpersonal relationships.

At Suffolk DBT, we are proud to offer specialized, evidence-based treatments tailored to the needs of each individual. Our commitment to helping individuals affected by BPD is our highest priority. We strive to provide the best care possible and implement DBT the way Marsha Linehan designed it. We encourage anyone who is struggling with BPD to reach out to us so that we can help you find a therapist for adults or teens and a treatment plan that works for you.

Suffolk DBT proudly provides quality dialectical behavior therapy, a form of cognitive behavioral therapy, at their offices in Manhattan and Long Island, New York and online. Their experienced NYC therapists specialize in serving teens, children, adults, and college students struggling with depression, borderline personality disorder, eating disorders, and self-harm. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) skills and treatment can help you or your kids to manage emotions and work through life’s challenges.

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