Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based psychotherapy, first developed in the 1980s by Marsha M. Linehan, to treat patients suffering from borderline personality disorder. Since then, DBT’s use has broadened and now it is regularly employed as part of a treatment plan for people struggling with behaviors or emotions they can't control. This can include eating disorders, substance abuse, self-harm, and more. DBT is a skills-based approach that focuses on helping people increase their emotional and cognitive control by learning the triggers that lead to unwanted behaviors. Once triggers are identified, DBT teaches coping skills that include mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness. A therapist specializing in DBT will help you to enhance your own capabilities, improve your motivation, provide support in-the-moment, and better manage your own life with problem-solving strategies. Think this approach might work for you? Reach out to one of TherapyDen’s DBT specialists today.

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DBT is an integrative approach that borrows from several other modalities. I’m certified DBT therapist and have been using it with my clients successfully for long time. I have written about this approach several articles, which made me appreciate more. It usually works with many different individuals or at least some parts of it. Distress tolerance and emotional regulation for example we all can benefit from. Besides, it keeps the essential parts of therapy in mind. It’s a lot to be said here.

— Dr. Amr Kireem, Clinical Psychologist in Rolling Meadows, IL

Do you struggle with any of the following? • Do you feel broken, flawed, like something is wrong with you because your emotions are so intense or overwhelming? • Do you struggle to have control over your emotions? • Do you feel like your emotions sometimes control your life? • Do you want to learn how to better cope with your emotions? If you answered yes to any of the about then Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is for you. DBT will teach you: • How to be mindful of your emotions and prevent them from controlling you. • How to increase positive emotions and decrease negative emotions. • How to deal more effectively with your negative emotions.

— Duane Osterlind, LMFT, CSAT, Marriage & Family Therapist in Long Beach, CA

I incorporate DBT techniques into my treatment. DBT teaches clients how to live in the moment, cope with distress, regulate their emotions, and improve relationships with others. DBT has four modules: Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotion Regulation, Interpersonal Effectiveness.

— Panicha McGuire, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Honolulu, HI

DBT combines standard cognitive-behavioral techniques along with acceptance, mindfulness and distress tolerance. DBT can help with treating anxiety, trauma, PTSD and substance use. DBT can help provide steps and ways to cope with any negative feelings and thoughts that may be coming up for you. DBT is evidence-based therapy modality that can provide healthy ways to manage your emotions, thoughts and beliefs.

— Avni Panchal, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Oakland, CA

When working with anxiety and/or gender identity struggles, DBT is helpful to understand how we think about gender as influenced by society and others. DBT can helps through being mindful of thoughts, feelings, and events, building distress tolerance, exploring current interpersonal relationships, and learning to regulate one's emotions.

— Katy Niles, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Pasadena, CA

DBT is a therapy specially designed to help us deal with our emotions in an effective way, learn how to accept what we cannot control, and focus on achieving our goals. In primarily being a DBT therapist, I help clients learn new skills to help manage relationships, situations and distress as they occur, and to identify how to best live our life the way we want to.

— Ethan Sapienza, Associate Clinical Social Worker in Beverly Hills, CA

I use elements of DBT with clients as necessary, especially when discharging from intensive outpatient programs. It helps to continue the work that began within the hospital program and create a more individualized plan to the client rather than with a group.

— Mallory Striesfeld - Healing Pathways of Houston, Licensed Professional Counselor in Houston, TX

I have been through extensive DBT training and utilized this in treatment centers and school settings.

— Cassandra Holt Kimbell, Licensed Professional Counselor in Dallas, TX

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of talk therapy (psychotherapy). It’s based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), but it’s specially adapted for people who experience emotions very intensely. “Dialectical” means combining opposite ideas. DBT focuses on helping people accept the reality of their lives and their behaviors, as well as helping them change their lives, including their unhelpful behaviors.

— Crystal Bettenhausen-Bubulka, Clinical Social Worker in Coronado, CA

Online training and certification (2023) through Evergreen Certifications.

— Jessica McDonough, Licensed Professional Counselor in Cleveland Heights, OH

I have extensive training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and draw from it to help individuals who experience frequent conflict, intense emotions, and anger management. I also integrate DBT in the treatment of eating disorders.

— Sala Psychology, Clinical Psychologist in Greenwich, CT

Dialectical behavior therapy is an evidence-based psychotherapy that began with efforts to treat personality disorders and interpersonal conflicts. Evidence suggests that DBT can be useful in treating mood disorders and suicidal ideation, as well as for changing behavioral patterns such as self-harm and substance use

— Jocelyn Farrar, Clinical Social Worker

With DBT, I assist you in entering WISE mind. WISE mind is where logical thinking meets emotional thinking for an even balance. We work on mindfulness skills & emotional regulation skills. We explore finding balance with interventions like PLEASE. This focus is about working on treating physical illness, focusing on balanced eating, avoiding mood altering substances, focusing on balanced sleep and exercise. There are other helpful interventions as well to help with boundaries & communication

— Rachael Jordan, Counselor in Puyallup, WA

I trained in DBT in the DBT clinic at Mass General Hospital, one of the top psychiatry programs in the country. I find that DBT is very good at capturing the complexities of life through its foundation in Hegelian dialectics. Hegelian dialectics refer to the idea that two seemingly opposing things can both be true (e.g., I can love someone and also know that they are a toxic force in my life, or I can be so pissed off with someone and still choose to treat them with compassion).

— Calvin Fitch, Psychologist in Boston, MA

I have over 3 years experience using DBT in a variety of treatment settings. I was trained using DBT inpatient for eating disorders and have applied the skills with many clients in my outpatient practice. I often combine approaches to meet the needs of my individual client.

— Kim Lycan, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in Richland, WA

Dialectical Behavior Therapy is a form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that focuses on helping us manage emotional pain and successfully navigate our relationships. It seeks to accomplish these goals by improving one's ability to regulate difficult emotions, tolerate distressing feelings or experiences, practice acceptance for the things they cannot change, and communicate with others. These compose some of the hallmarks of my practice, and have helped my patients enormously.

— Saira Malhotra, Therapist in Denver, CO

I offer a DBT informed approach (not strictly DBT as I pull from other modalities when appropriate) as to me it is the most all encompassing therapy I have come across. It helps teach life skills such as mindfulness practice, radical acceptance, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness and emotional regulation. All such skills can help with most mental health challenges and addictive tendencies.

— Krissy Moses, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in Winter Park, FL

While working with adults I utilize dialectic behavior therapy (DBT) in order for clients to learn skills to help build the life they want to live.

— Samantha Levinson, Licensed Professional Counselor in Bryn Mawr, PA