Dialectical Behaviour Therapy is designed specifically for clients who experience overwhelmingly painful emotions and have developed maladaptive coping strategies such as self-harm and suicide attempts.
If clients can come to accept that emotional pain is inevitably a frequent visitor in life,
and if they learn alternative skills for coping with it,
then unhealthy responses will be reduced.
DBT teaches three (3) main types of skills for tolerating distress: (i) radical acceptance; (ii) distraction, and (iii) self-soothing and relaxation.
When all three types of skills have been learned, the clients is assisted to develop a comprehensive Coping Plan for Dealing with Situations (McKay, Wood, & Brantley, 2007) (p60-61).
Day to day interactions with young people in settings such as Day Programs, Residential Units and in outreach environments provide many opportunities for practitioners to remind young people of these techniques or offer additional techniques to assist with distress tolerance.