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DBT Techniques For Bipolar Disorder


Have you ever heard of the therapy called Dialectical Behavior Therapy, also referred to as DBT?  According to, “Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a therapy designed to help people suffering from mood disorders as well as those who need to change patterns of behavior that are not helpful.”  This article will describe various DBT techniques that can be used for the treatment of Bipolar Disorder.


The first DBT technique that can be used for individuals with Bipolar Disorder is mindfulness.  According to, the following can be noted about mindfulness:

Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future.

To explain further, individuals with Bipolar Disorder may experience racing thoughts.  When you practice mindfulness, you pay attention to your thoughts and feelings without judging them.  Simply put, you are letting them go.  The practice of mindfulness enables the presence of racing thoughts to be less of an impairment in individuals’ lives.

Distress Tolerance Skills

In addition to mindfulness, another DBT technique that can be applied to individuals’ lives with Bipolar Disorder is distress tolerance skills.  According to, the following can be noted about distress tolerance skills:

The main goal of distress tolerance skills is to help us get through difficult situations without making them worse. These skills teach us to both endure and manage intense negative emotional responses. They include strategies such as self soothing, using distractions, improving the moment, identifying pros and cons of tolerating distress, accepting things as they are, and much more.

To explain further, distress tolerance skills can be as simple as journaling or going for a walk.  These activities or coping mechanisms enable you to become distracted from negative events and remain present in the moment and stay focused on the task at hand.


To end this article, two specific DBT techniques have been mentioned for the treatment of Bipolar Disorder.  They include mindfulness, in addition to distress tolerance skills.  Mindfulness involves not judging your thoughts and feelings, while distress tolerance skills involve becoming distracted from negative situations and focusing on the present moment at hand.  Consider giving these techniques a try.

DBT Techniques For Bipolar Disorder

Lauren Walters

My name is Lauren Walters. I am currently heading into my final semester of graduate school for Mental Health Counseling in the Spring of 2016. Through my own experiences with mental illness, I love to inspire others through my writings and reassure them that they can live healthy, productive lives, despite mental illness. I hope you enjoy my articles. Feel free to comment. I will be sure to respond to you questions and/or comments in a prompt manner. Enjoy!

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APA Reference
Walters, L. (2017). DBT Techniques For Bipolar Disorder. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 22, 2020, from


Last updated: 9 Apr 2017
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