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.

Meet the specialists

I am trained in principals of Dialectical Behavior Therapy including emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness.

— Kyle Woodson, Licensed Professional Counselor in Denver, CO

My graduate training included an emphasis on Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). Additionally, I have completed post-graduate training in Dialectical Behavior Skills Training. This includes the skills of mindfulness (being in the present moment), emotion regulation (learning how to manage your emotions), distress tolerance (how to handle those moments of seemingly unbearable negative emotions), and interpersonal effectiveness (ways to interact more effectively with others).

— Charlotte Pennington, Psychologist in Lakeway, TX

DBT helps change lives! Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a cognitive behavioral treatment developed by Marsha Linehan, PhD, ABPP. It emphasizes individual psychotherapy and group skills training classes to help people learn and use new skills and strategies to develop a life that they experience as worth living. DBT skills include skills for mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness. For more in-depth info see https://behavioraltech.org/resources/faqs/dialectical-behavior-therapy-dbt/. I am a certified DBT therapist and have been leading DBT Programs since 1997 and would be happy to help.

— Kimberly Krueger MSW, LCSW, Counselor in Davidson, NC

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 Greenwood Village, CO

I do not provide "pure DBT" which must include a DBT skills training group in addition to individual DBT therapy to be truly DBT. However, I teach clients skills from the DBT modules to help clients be present with their lived experience and move towards valued living or "what matters."

— Rachelle Miller, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Spokane Valley, WA

I began my training in Dialectal Behavioral Therapy began in 2008. Over the last decade, I have completed years of consultation to ensure that my work evolved as the modality has evolved. Currently, I use this skill set to assist individuals who are looking to regulate their emotions and decrease episodes of distress. In my work, I have found that DBT provides a skill set that is helpful for coaching individuals who want more autonomy and power in their own lives.

— Julius Peterson, Clinical Social Worker in Decatur, GA

My experience is working on a team with DBT therapy in a hospital setting. When we look at the skills individually, DBT can be a resource that can be extremely helpful in learning specific ways to improve your patterns of communication and how you look at and work through emotions.

— Karmen Tuivai, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Provo, UT

DBT was designed to help people decrease & eliminate suicidal ideation, & self-harming behaviors, such as cutting or burning. DBT Skills aim to help people learn how to regulate their emotions & effectively respond to upsetting events. It Emphasizes the importance of living life in the present moment, “here and now”. Skills focus on Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation, & Distress Tolerance. The #1 goal of DBT is to help others “Create lives worth living”.

— Cassie Icenogle Konnoly, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Lacey, WA

DBT teaches a set of skills (i.e., emotional regulation, interpersonal skills, mindfulness, and distress tolerance) to help people with mood instability and/or self-harm behaviors find more balance and build healthier relationships.

— Carissa Gustafson, Psychologist in Calabasas, CA

What can Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT as we call it in the Bizz) do to help you? In a non clinical jargony way--it offers so many wonderful, practical skills to manage anxiety, depression, and interpersonal conflict. I personally benefit from DBT and have a training in this evidenced based treatment. I have also run a number of groups for all ages and specifically enjoy the Mindfulness aspect of DBT, learning to stay present and check in with oneself is imperative in healing.

— Amy Lynch, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Centenntial, CO

I have over 80 hours of training in this modality, but I am constantly learning more. It is effective in so many situations and allows for a full understanding of the person, and work towards goals that are 'worth living.' I especially enjoy the focus on finding synthesis in the areas of your life.

— Matt Coffman, Licensed Professional Counselor

During my graduate school clinical training, I spent 1 year working on a DBT team, learning from Behavioral Tech trained and practicing DBT clinicians. This agency conducted and provided comprehensive DBT, including individual sessions, skill groups, phone coaching, and consultation team, as well as training, supervision, and psychoeducation for graduate-level interns/therapists.

— Hilary Stein, Associate Clinical Social Worker in Los Angeles, CA

Mindfulness and Self-Compassion with CBT Practices. I integrate DBT with the approach so it is holistic and tailored to your treatment plan. You will learn techniques for self-awareness, self-regulation and improving your emotional and mental control to achieve wellness.

— Linda Fong, Clinical Social Worker in Berkeley, CA

I have received training in DBT and have found it invaluable in working with many different areas people struggle with. It allows people to learn new skills to manage emotional distress while identifying emotions and processing them to reduce anxiety and work through life's struggles.

— Jacob Butler, Counselor in Canadian, OK

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, Licensed Professional Counselor in Houston, TX

Originally developed for people suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, I believe this modality has concepts that help all of us! The number one tool here is mindfulness, which can help us slow things down in order to understand what is happening in the moment, and identify what is the most healthy response.

— Sara Rotger, Marriage & Family Therapist in Montrose, CA

I have four years of experience working in this DBT when I worked exclusively with highly reactive and impulsive clients. Over the last three years, I have found with a few adaptations, aspects of this therapy works great with my highly sensitive clients and those who struggle with emotional reactivity. (These are skills that everyone should understand at a basic level anyway.) These skills allow our work together to evolve into deeper processing and reframing past experiences.

— Carolyn Memmott, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in West Jordan, UT