Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) treatment is a cognitive-behavioural approach that emphasizes the psychosocial aspects of treatment. The theory behind the approach, developed in the late 1980s by psychologist Marsha M. Linehan, is that some people are prone to react in a more intense and out-of-the-ordinary manner toward certain emotional situations, primarily those found in romantic, family and friend relationships.

DBT theory suggests that some people’s arousal levels in such situations can increase far more quickly than the average person’s, attain a higher level of emotional stimulation, and take a significant amount of time to return to baseline arousal levels which can be the case in men who harm their partners.

Applying DBT to domestic abuse perpetrators requires four essential functions of DBT: attending to client motivation, skill acquisition, skill generalization, and team/therapist consultation.

In addition, a number of new treatment developments are presented to target reducing and eliminating aggression: validation and empathy skill training; a focus on reconditioning anger responses to be more normative (including identifying alternative emotions and their associated effective coping responses); skills training on accurate interpersonal emotional expression; and understanding the functions of aggression and teaching skills in how formerly aggressive partners can get relationship and self-management needs met skillfully.