One of the essential tools in DBT treatment is the use of a Diary Card. The client is asked to keep a Diary Card as a daily log to track their emotions, behaviors, and the DBT skills they have learned and practiced. The Diary Card helps clients stay mindful of their treatment goals such as managing binging and/or purging behaviors, reducing maladaptive thinking, etc. Much like in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), the diary card is a simple and powerful ‘homework’ tool that helps clients identify patterns and triggers affecting their emotions and behaviors. Designed to be completed daily and set up collaboratively by client and therapist, the Diary Card is individualized to track factors such as current mood, urges to engage in maladaptive behaviors, and what skills were practiced as taught in therapy or in a DBT Skills Group. By tracking their daily experiences, clients learn to identify patterns in their moods and behaviors affecting their mental health. They can then use this information to develop more effective coping strategies with their therapists’ help. The Diary Card also promotes accountability and motivation for change.
There are a variety of Apps that allow for a diary card to be managed through one’s own cell phone.
Below is an example of the Diary Card we use at DBTOC:
DBTOC Diary Card
Written By Dr. Michele Lob PsyD., MFT #39932
Photo Credit: Sixteen Miles Out on Unsplash