What is DBT?
DBT is designed to help clients who feel that they are at the mercy of their emotions, often resulting in self-destructive behaviors and damaged interpersonal relationships. Via DBT skills training, individual therapy, phone coaching, and consultation team, DBT clients consistently show significant reduction in psychiatric symptoms, increased feelings of control and less emotional suffering.
In the first stage of DBT treatment, with their therapists support, clients target life-threatening behaviors (e.g., suicidality and self-harm), therapy-interfering behaviors (e.g., missing appointments or avoiding pertinent therapeutic information), and finally quality of life behaviors (e.g., eating disorder behaviors, addictive behaviors, interpersonal problems). The goal during the first stage of treatment is to support clients in gaining behavioral control through learning and practicing new ways of coping, via skills training.
In the second stage of DBT treatment, clients may have begun to exhibit control over self-destructive behaviors but are often still suffering, sometimes in silence. This is often due to unresolved traumas and PTSD. This stage of the therapy aims to help clients process their past traumas and move forward through healing those wounds.
The third stage of DBT treatment finds clients feeling more secure in their behavioral control. This stage of therapy focuses on supporting clients in gaining access to and aligning with their personal values and dreams in order to define goals that they have for themselves. The third stage is also about helping clients cope with the normal ups and downs of life, finding happiness in their day-to-day lives, and increasing their feelings of self-respect.
In the 4th and final stage of DBT treatment, clients work on building a sense of connectedness and wholeness to the world around them, increasing their capacity to experience joy. They begin to "build a life worth living."
During the course of DBT skills training (either in a group or individual setting), clients learn:
Efficacy of DBT Treatment:
DBT treatment has consistently demonstrated the following: reduced psychiatric hospitalizations by 73%, reduced suicide attempts by 50%, and over $8,000 saved per year in mental health costs (Linehan, 2002-2018).