Dialectical Behavior Therapy Group Skills Training for Bipolar Disorder

Behav Ther. 2017 Jul;48(4):557-566. doi: 10.1016/j.beth.2016.12.006. Epub 2017 Jan 6.


There is growing evidence that the capacity for emotion regulation is compromised in individuals with bipolar disorder. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), an empirically supported treatment that specifically targets emotion dysregulation, may be an effective adjunct treatment for improving emotion regulation and residual mood symptoms in patients with bipolar disorder. In this open, proof-of-concept pilot study, 37 participants engaged in a 12-week DBT group skills training program, learning mindfulness, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance skills. Repeated measures mixed models revealed skill acquisition in the areas of mindfulness, emotion regulation and distress tolerance, as well as improved psychological well-being and decreased emotion reactivity. The results of this study support a burgeoning literature that DBT is a feasible adjunct intervention for patients with bipolar disorder.

Keywords: bipolar disorder; dialectical behavior therapy; emotion regulation; group skills training.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Bipolar Disorder / psychology
  • Bipolar Disorder / therapy*
  • Emotions
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mindfulness
  • Pilot Projects
  • Proof of Concept Study
  • Psychotherapy, Group / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult