Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based outpatient treatment designed to help people with problems managing emotions, relationships and behaviors that interfere with being successful or happy.

These behaviors can range in intensity from mild to severe, and include such problems as anger and other emotion management, relationship issues, substance abuse, eating disorders, self harm or suicidal gestures and ideation and more.

The treatment consists of initially contracting for 6 months of twice a week sessions:

One session is a Skills Group that occurs once a week for an hour and three-quarters.  For adolescents, it is a Multi-family Skills Group which requires participation by the teen and one parent/guardian.  The number of participants in the group can range from 3 to 10.  In these groups we teach 5 sets of skills that all participants will be learning and practicing.  The skills modules are; “Mindfulness”, “Interpersonal Effectiveness” (skills to improve relationships with others), “Distress Tolerance” (how to manage a crisis or impulsive, intense urges to act in ways that get you in trouble), “Emotion Regulation” (how to more skillfully manage emotions) and “Walking the Middle Path” (skills to address family issues).  There is homework assigned and each session starts with a review of the homework and a mindfulness practice.

Note: We get a lot of referrals from clients, family members or therapists for people who are currently in treatment with a therapist who but are not making the kind of progress they would like to see despite there being a strong supportive relationship.  While in DBT, the client needs to agree to stop other psychotherapy elsewhere. DBT requires a solid team between client and therapists, much like the relationship between an athlete and their primary coach. More than one primary coach can lead to confusion and difficulty not only forming the therapeutic relationship but doing the difficult work of putting DBT concepts and skills into action. The research supports this requirement of having only one individual therapist. Once you have completed DBT, you are of free to return to a previous therapy if you choose. Clients in DBT continue to see other treatment providers like psychiatrists and other medical practitioners. Some clients also take part in other supportive services like twelve step and these services are not usually considered a conflict with DBT therapy.

Check out the website link http://behavioraltech.org/resources/ for more information.