ideas, innovations and apps for social work in the age of smartphones and social media 

DBT Self-help – An App To Support Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a form of psychotherapy that was originally developed by Marsha M. Linehan, a psychology researcher at the University of Washington, to treat people with borderline personality disorder (BPD). DBT combines standard cognitive-behavioral techniques for emotion regulation and reality-testing with concepts of distress tolerance, acceptance, and mindful awareness largely derived from Buddhist meditative practice. DBT may be the first therapy that has been experimentally demonstrated to be generally effective in treating BPD. A meta-analysis found that DBT reached moderate effects. Research indicates that DBT is also effective in treating patients who present varied symptoms and behaviors associated with spectrum mood disorders, including self-injury. Recent work suggests its effectiveness with sexual abuse survivors and drug-dependency. (wikipedia)

Cognitus, a Scandinavian company for development of psychotherapeutic tools and applications for self-help on the web and mobile platforms, released DBT Self-help for iOS (iTunes) and Android (Google Play Store). It is a …

DBTa tool that helps you manage overwhelming emotions, break destructive impulsive behaviors, navigate relationships and cultivate mindfulness.

The app will help you to:

  • Gain greater understanding on how thoughts, emotions, physiology and behaviors affect eachother;
  • Build and manage healthy balanced relationsships and develop tools of communication;
  • Cope with overwhelming emotions without acting impulsively;
  • Use effective skills to identify, manage and regulate feelings and emotions;
  • Change behavior to increase the positive emotions in your life;
  • Increase your level of mindfulness and cultivate your awareness and concentration.

The App was reviewed by Micki Washburna and Danielle E. Parrisha. Here is the abstract of the article “DBT Self-Help Application for Mobile Devices” that was published in the Journal of Technology in Human Services:

DBT ARTDBT Self-Help is a mobile application serving as a companion to structured skills training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). It is available for both Android and iOS and works on various mobile devices. This application affords users a private, easily portable way to access information and practice key DBT skill sets such as Core Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotional Regulation and Interpersonal Effectiveness. Although this app is affordable and contains a great deal of information, it can be difficult to navigate, especially for someone new to DBT concepts. The content is strong, but restructuring the presentation style would enhance clarity. This application is recommended for those already involved in a DBT-based program, and may be appropriate for those who wish to learn additional coping skills as an adjunct to other forms of treatment. Unfortunately, this app is not user-friendly enough to be easily followed by the average consumer wanting to learn new ways of managing uncomfortable emotions.

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Lutz Siemer

Lutz Siemer

Education, Research & Development in Social Work & IT After working as an alternative practitioner and psychotherapist in private practice for nearly ten years I stepped over to higher education in 2005. At Saxion University of Applied Sciences I lecture and do research and development in the area of Social Work, Psychology and IT. Currently I'm focussing on merging mobile technology and social work.

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