Dialectical Behavior Therapy is an “evidence-based treatment”, which means that it has been studied in clinical trials to determine whether or not it is effective. In these trials, DBT and “treatment as usual” both resulted in important clinical progress in several key areas. However, DBT produced superior outcomes in the following ways:

  • A significant¬†reduction in the number of intentional, self-injurious acts (e.g. cutting, burning)
  • Significant reductions in the medical seriousness of self-injurious acts that do occur.
  • Improved ability to change and regulate emotions.
  • Significant reductions in trait anger.
  • Significant reductions in anxious rumination.
  • Improved interpersonal effectiveness and interpersonal problem solving.
  • Significant reductions in substance abuse.
  • Significant reductions in eating disordered behavior.
  • Improved social adjustment (as reported¬†by both self-report and clinical interview).
  • Significantly better global adjustment (e.g. at work, school, and household role performance).

(Linehan et al., 1991)

The results have been so positive that DBT is now generally considered to be a treatment of choice for BPD.