Every therapy operates with a certain set of basic assumptions. These are sets of hypothesis’, facts or statements that are taken for granted. They are not always articulated, but they are acted upon as rules and guidelines for treatment.

DBT is no different. It too operates with a certain set of assumptions. In DBT, however, the assumptions are clearly articulated.

About Clients

  1. People are doing the best that they can.
  2. People want to improve
  3. People must learn new behaviors both in therapy and in the context of their day-to-day life.
  4. People cannot fail in DBT
  5. People may not have caused all of their problems, but they have to solve them anyway.
  6. People need to do better, try harder and be more motivated to change.
  7. The lives of people who are suicidal are unbearable as they are currently being lived.

About Treatment

  1. The most caring thing a therapist or treatment provider can do is help people change in ways that bring them closer to their own ultimate goals.
  2. Clarity, precision and compassion are of the utmost importance.
  3. The treatment relationship is a real relationship between equals.
  4. Principles of behavior are universal, affecting clinicians no less than clients.
  5. Treatment providers need support
  6. Treatment providers can fail.

What do you think of these assumptions? Are any of them contradictions? Can these assumptions still be true, despite contradiction? Do these assumptions fit with your experience of therapy.

Write your thoughts and comments in the comment section below.