Dialectical behavior therapy


What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

DBT is a scientifically supported treatment based on a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and Eastern meditation techniques. It was developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan to initially help individuals with suicidal thoughts/behaviors and self injury but has expanded to include a number of other conditions including eating disorders, substance use, depression, and impulsive behaviors. DBT is an effective skills based treatment that enhances the quality of life for anyone struggling to manage intense emotions, such as anger, shame, anxiety, and depression. DBT is a good fit for individuals who don’t feel they are making adequate treatment gains in their current therapy or just feel stuck or unable to make positive changes in their lives.

Four Components of Dialectical Behavior Therapy

  • Individual therapy with a DBT trained therapist
  • Weekly Skills Training Group
  • Telephone Coaching between sessions
  • A therapist collaborative treatment team that meets weekly to consult in order to enhance quality of care

Weekly Skills Training Group

Skills groups meet weekly for 90 minutes for 24 weeks and are co-led by two DBT trained therapists. Skills groups follow the standard DBT modules consisting of:

  • Mindfulness – learn to be more present in your life; live with full attention
  • Distress Tolerance – cope effectively with intense negative emotions under times of crises
  • Emotion Regulation – learn how to identify, express, and manage emotions
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness – learn effective communication skills to meet your needs and enhance personal and professional relationships

What is the First Step?

Telephone Pre-Screening 

Contact our office to set up a no cost pre-screening telephone appointment with one of our DBT intake coordinators. If you qualify, our coordinators will schedule an in person intake consultation with one of our DBT therapists.

Screening Consultation 

During your consultation appointment, our therapists will gather relevant clinical history, assess your current symptoms, and help you identify your treatment goals to determine if our program is a good fit for your needs. You will also be asked to fill out some brief paper and pen questionnaires that assess your current symptoms. Our DBT consultation team meets weekly and will collaboratively review your case and determine eligibility for our program.

If you are eligible, we can offer a combination of individual and group therapy or group therapy only. In most circumstances, we require all of our skills group participants to be in ongoing individual therapy, either with one of our therapists or an outside therapist. The consultation appointment does not automatically guarantee acceptance into our DBT program. We may determine that you would be best served in another type of treatment or program.