The Psychology of Self-Injury: Exploring Self-Harm & Mental Health

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for Self-Harm, with Dr. Jenny Hughes

Episode Summary

Jennifer Hughes, PhD, MPH, from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, describes Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) as an intervention for nonsuicidal self-injury and self-harm.

Episode Notes

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) has been lauded as an evidence-based treatment for addressing suicidal and nonsuicidal thoughts and behaviors.  In this episode, Dr. Jenny Hughes explains what DBT is, describes what "dialectical" means, and walks us through how each of the four modules of DBT can be used to address nonsuicidal self-injury and self-harm: (1) Emotion Regulation, (2) Distress Tolerance, (3) Interpersonal Effectiveness, and (4) Mindfulness. She also provides an update on the science behind DBT, including what aspects of the treatment are thought to be most effective in addressing self-injury. 

To learn more about DBT and opportunities for training in DBT as referenced in this episode, visit Behavioral Tech at Learn more about Dr. Hughes' work at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center here, and follow her on Twitter at @DrJennyHughes. Watch her 2018 TEDx talk on Resilience: Growth Through Struggle  at Below are links to some of her research on DBT among youth:

Editorial: Dialectical Behavior Therapy and the Function of Self-Injury (2021)

(1) Efficacy of dialectical behavior therapy for adolescents at high risk for suicide: a randomized clinical trial (2018)

(2) Predictors and moderators of recurring self-harm in adolescents participating in a comparative treatment trial of psychological interventions (2019)

(3) Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Suicidal Self-Harming Youth: Emotion Regulation, Mechanisms, and Mediators (2021).

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The Psychology of Self-Injury podcast has been rated #5 by Feedspot in their "Top 15 Clinical Psychology Podcasts You Must Follow in 2021" and by Welp Magazine in their "20 Best Injury Podcasts of 2021."