Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) has revolutionized the treatment of mental health conditions characterized by emotion dysregulation such as borderline personality disorder (BPD). However, for many the standard DBT model leaves underlying trauma unaddressed. Radical DBT takes DBT a step further by placing trauma at the center of treatment.

Trauma and BPD are deeply intertwined. The emotional vulnerabilities and behavioral patterns of BPD often develop as a response to childhood trauma, neglect or abuse. While DBT skills help manage symptoms, they do not target the root cause – unprocessed trauma stored in the body and mind. Radical DBT recognizes that true healing and transformation cannot occur until we make trauma the priority.

woman focusing her hands into a heart capturing the sun facing radical dbt

The radical part of Radical DBT is not just acknowledging trauma, but approaching it fearlessly with compassion. Traditional talk therapy is not enough – we must use all tools to soothe the wounded parts of the system and restore wholeness. Radical DBT integrates somatic experiencing, art therapy, mindfulness, psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy and other experiential practices. The goal is to gradually build capacity for deeper feelings work and eventually face trauma head-on through exposure therapy.

Emotions Guidance

In Radical DBT emotions are considered valuable messengers rather than enemies. Suppressing or avoiding feelings protects the traumatized parts of us, but also prevents healing. Radical DBT teaches that experiencing raw emotion, with support, is the only way to integrate trauma and regain control of our lives. Clients learn emotional regulation not to avoid pain but to tolerate enough discomfort to process what happened and grieve fully. Over time the need for intense emotions gradually diminishes as trauma is resolved from the inside out.

Beyond Surviving to Thriving

The end goal of Radical DBT is more than just surviving or managing symptoms – it is high-level well-being and purpose. Once trauma processing is complete clients report a newfound sense of confidence, empathy, creativity and joy. Freed from past limitations, possibilities emerge for living fully with compassion for self and others. No longer held back by fear, clients report being able to pursue meaningful careers, healthy relationships and make a difference in the world. Radical DBT believes that by confronting trauma head-on, using all means necessary, we can transform profound suffering into wisdom, strength and service to others. True healing is indeed possible.

Book Radical DBT Therapy in London or Online Counselling in Ontario

If you want to explore DBT or dialectical-based therapy, book an appointment or consultation online or contact us to book. We have certified therapists available to support you through your trauma or other issues you may be experiencing. Contact us to get started!

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