Dialectical Behavior Therapy for OCD: What You Need to Know

Dialectical Behavior Therapy for OCD: What You Need to Know

If you are struggling with OCD, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) may be the right treatment for you. DBT is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that was originally developed to treat people with borderline personality disorder. However, it has been found to be helpful for people with a variety of mental health issues, including OCD. In this blog post, we will discuss how dialectical behavioral therapy for OCD work and the benefits of using it!

What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of psychotherapy. It combines cognitive-behavioral approaches with mindfulness techniques and dialectical philosophy. It was developed by psychologist Marsha M. Linehan in the 1980s to help people struggling with extreme emotional distress, such as borderline personality disorder (BPD).

Recently, it has gained traction as a potential treatment for OCD. The type of therapy is believed to work by helping people better understand their emotions, accept themselves as they are, and ultimately learn to cope with life’s challenges in more productive ways.

DBT is a highly structured approach that encourages participants to recognize the contradictions inherent in their own behavior and beliefs. Thus, if you had an overriding fear of germs, you might be encouraged to explore how your germaphobia affects your relationships or other aspects of your life. The aim is to help people gain insight into their feelings and reactions, learn new skills and behaviors, and become more accepting of themselves.

Be sure to talk to your therapist or doctor about whether DBT is an appropriate treatment for you and your OCD.

Is DBT Good For Intrusive Thoughts?

Intrusive thoughts are common among individuals with OCD and can be difficult to manage. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) has been found to be successful in treating intrusive thoughts associated with OCD. As well as other symptoms of the disorder.

The simple answer is yes, DBT can be very beneficial in treating intrusive thoughts associated with OCD. The main focus of the therapy is on helping individuals to change their thought patterns and behaviors that are contributing to intrusive thoughts. This is done by teaching people how to recognize and modify unhelpful thinking patterns. As well as developing healthy coping strategies for dealing with intrusive thoughts.

Through DBT, individuals are also taught how to accept their intrusive thoughts without reacting to them. This helps to reduce the amount of distress they feel when experiencing an intrusive thought. In fact, it has been found to be effective in teaching people how to take a step back. And become more objective when looking at their own thought processes.

So, yeah, DBT can be a great tool for managing intrusive thoughts associated with OCD. Make sure to first consult with a mental health professional about whether DBT is the right option for you. And to get the most out of your therapy, it’s important to stay committed and open-minded.

What Are Some Techniques Of Dialectical Behavior Therapy For OCD?

What Are Some Techniques Of Dialectical Behavior Therapy For OCD?Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based psychotherapy that has been successfully used to treat OCD. There are some common techniques that have been found to be effective in treating OCD with DBT.

Opposite Action

The first technique is called the “Opposite Action” which involves responding to intrusive thoughts or urges by taking an opposite action instead of giving in to them. This encourages a patient to challenge their rigid thinking and assumptions about their behavior. For example, if a person feels the urge to stay in bed all day due to their OCD, they can take an opposite action by getting up and doing something productive instead.


The second DBT technique is “Mindfulness” which involves being aware of the present moment without judging it or reacting to it emotionally. This enables a person to observe their thoughts and feelings without getting carried away by them. Mindfulness can help a person to become aware of the triggers that cause their OCD and how they can manage their own reactions to these triggers.

Distress Tolerance

The third technique is “Distress Tolerance” which involves developing the ability to tolerate distress. Without making it worse or giving in to urges or compulsions. This technique teaches a person to focus on the present moment and recognize that although their thoughts and feelings may be unpleasant, they will not last forever.

Cognitive Restructuring

Finally, “Cognitive Restructuring” is a technique used to help people identify and challenge irrational beliefs. That can contribute to OCD. This involves exploring alternative ways of thinking about situations or circumstances that can reduce anxiety and improve coping skills. It is important to learn how to recognize and challenge these irrational beliefs in order to reduce the severity of OCD.

Overall, Dialectical Behavior Therapy for OCD can be an effective way to manage this disorder. The techniques outlined above can help a person to better recognize, accept, and manage their intrusive thoughts. It is important to speak with a qualified mental health professional in order to find the right treatment plan for your individual needs and goals.

Who Is Not Appropriate For DBT?

Who Is Not Appropriate For DBT?DBT is a powerful therapy, but it is not suitable for everyone. That is why it is important to have an initial assessment with a professional before beginning treatment. There are some people who may not benefit from DBT, including:

  • Those who struggle with antipsychotic medications
  • Have a history of severe violence and aggression
  • Those with certain mental illnesses such as schizophrenia
  • Those who are unable to commit to therapy for the duration of treatment

In addition, DBT may not be the best treatment for conditions that involve more than one mental disorder, such as bipolar disorder and OCD. Since it is focused on treating individual symptoms.

Therefore, if you are considering DBT for your OCD, it is important to have a thorough assessment in order to ensure that this type of therapy is right for you.

What Should You Expect From DBT?

During a course on DBT for OCD, you can expect to learn new skills that will help you manage your symptoms and reduce distress. Through skill-building sessions, you will be taught:

  • how to identify triggers
  • cope with difficult emotions
  • reframe thinking patterns
  • practice mindfulness techniques

Additionally, your therapist will provide support and guidance as you work on applying the skills you learn in the session to your life. This will help you gain control of your OCD and better manage the difficult thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that come with it.

Your therapist may also provide individual sessions of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to help you identify patterns of thought and behavior related to your OCD. They can also provide guidance on how to challenge your beliefs and reframe them in a more helpful way.

Because DBT is based on the concept of acceptance and change, your therapist may also help you accept certain aspects of your OCD. That is difficult to change and learn how to cope with them in a healthier way. This can lead to improved mental and emotional well-being.

The ultimate goal of Dialectical Behavior Therapy for OCD is to help you gain control over your symptoms and reduce distress. With the right treatment and support, you can learn how to manage your OCD without letting it take over your life.

What Is The Success Rate Of DBT Therapy?

The success rate of Dialectical Behavior Therapy for OCD is estimated to be between 55% and 85%. This percentage varies among individuals due to their unique experiences with the disorder. While it’s difficult to make definitive conclusions about the efficacy of DBT in treating OCD. Some research has indicated that those who undergo DBT therapy experience a reduction in their OCD symptoms.

Studies have also found that the more sessions of DBT that are attended, the higher likelihood of positive outcomes for individuals with OCD. However, efficiency is highly individualistic. And it is not unusual for a full course of DBT to take 18 or more sessions.

Therefore, people with OCD should understand that DBT will take time and effort. It is not a “quick fix” or a magic wand but rather an ongoing practice of mindfulness, self-awareness, and acceptance. Only by committing to the therapy and its goals can individuals with OCD make progress toward managing their symptoms. And living a healthier, more balanced life.


To conclude, dialectical behavior therapy for OCD is often an effective treatment approach. It can help individuals to manage their OCD symptoms in a more mindful and meaningful way. By utilizing mindfulness techniques, emotion regulation strategies, and cognitive restructuring, individuals in this type of therapy often experience fewer intrusive thoughts. And less distress associated with their OCD symptoms.

Therefore, if you are struggling with OCD, it may be helpful to speak with a therapist trained in dialectical behavior therapy. This type of therapy can provide powerful tools to help manage your symptoms and improve your overall quality of life.

Take care, and don’t forget that you are not alone! OCD is a mental health disorder characterized by obsessions and compulsions. If you have any queries regarding OCD treatmentERP therapy experienced therapists at OCDMantra can help: Book a trial OCD therapy session