Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 67–75 | Cite as

Dialectical Behavior Therapy: An Emotion-Focused Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder

  • Melanie S. Harned
  • Sammy F. Banawan
  • Thomas R. Lynch
Original Paper


Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a cognitive-behavioral treatment for borderline personality disorder (BPD) that is based on the theory that emotion dysregulation is the core feature of BPD. This article focuses on aspects of DBT theory and techniques that specifically address emotion. The dialectical and biosocial theories that underlie DBT are reviewed with an emphasis on how each relates to emotional experiencing in BPD. Selected treatment strategies that address emotion dysregulation and their hypothesized mechanisms of change are also described. Relevant research findings are incorporated throughout to provide an empirical foundation for the DBT theories and strategies that are discussed.


Dialectical behavior therapy Emotion regulation Borderline personality disorder Emotion 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melanie S. Harned
    • 1
  • Sammy F. Banawan
    • 2
  • Thomas R. Lynch
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Behavioral Research and Therapy ClinicsUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Duke University and Duke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA

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