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date: 05 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Research on processes and mechanisms of change aim to explain how and why an intervention leads to change. Despite some theoretical and empirical progress in understanding processes and mechanisms of change in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), this remains an understudied area in the DBT literature. This chapter considers how DBT conceptualizes the etiology and maintenance of dysfunction, and how active ingredients in DBT treatment produce client change. It proposes four key mechanisms of change that have been a focus of scientific efforts in DBT research: (1) increased awareness and acceptance of emotion; (2) increased attentional control; (3) increased ability to modulate emotion; and (4) increased use of adaptive coping skills. Next, it reviews the research evidence to support these putative mechanisms of change. Finally, it discusses clinical implications of this research, and propose recommendations for future research on mechanisms of change in DBT.

Keywords: Dialectical behaviour therapy, DBT, mechanisms of change, emotion regulation, change process, borderline personality disorder, BPD

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