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 have received training in DBT skills to inform my practice with teens and adults who struggle with managing challenging emotions . I work by weaving DBT skills into my practice to assist clients in grounding themselves when emotions become too challenging to handle thru Emotional Regulation skills, being in the moment by implementing Mindfulness skills, developing healthy boundaries by implementing Interpersonal Effectiveness skills, and increasing their Tolerance to Distressful situations.

— Isabel Decian, Counselor in Auburn, WA

Radically Open Dialectical Behavior Therapy (RO DBT) is a new treatment for patients who suffer from emotional overcontrol. RO DBT has been developed over the past 20 years for people with chronic depression or anorexia nervosa. Research results suggest that it is effective in these, and other, hard-to-treat groups. While high self-control is generally thought to be a good thing, too much self-control can be a problem for some people.

— Maggie Ritnour, Therapist in Brooklyn, NY

Dialectical Behavior Therapy is a set of skills that involves mindfulness, working to reduce not so good thoughts and behaviors, and assertiveness. It was initially developed to work with people with severe substance dependence and personality disorders, but is now used for a wide variety of problems.

— Willard Vaughn, Licensed Professional Counselor in , VA

During my training I sought opportunities to co-lead DBT groups because I knew that the tools within would be helpful for anyone. Though I no longer lead official DBT groups, the skills that I learned as a leader (and can thus provide to you) are enormously helpful for regulating distressing emotions--anger, anxiety, sadness, and the like.

— Jon Reeves, Clinical Psychologist in Seattle, WA

I would like you to think of DBT as a kind of deeper version of CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). In using DBT, there are elements of mindfulness in the mix. These include working with you as to your awareness of thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and behavioral urges.

— Sandy Marsh, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

Every choice we make has a psychological effect on us. Negative patterns of behavior and thinking can be changed by implementing positive skills. I focus on teaching new skills to confront and eliminate poor behaviors and thought processes.

— Leisa Watkins, Marriage & Family Therapist in Idaho Falls, ID

Combines concepts from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Eastern philosophy, including mindfulness and radical acceptance. An evidence-based approach found to be helpful with diverse problems in living, DBT can help provide children, teens, and families with adaptive coping and communication strategies.

— Christine Brent, Clinical Social Worker in Rochester, NY

I am a Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Intensively Trained Clinician through Behavioral Tech (an affiliate of the Linehan Institute). I helped start a brand new comprehensive DBT program from the ground up in 2015 and led a team of 8 clinicians teaching up to 5 DBT classes and serving 70 clients at a time.

— Heather McKenzie, Counselor in Cary, NC

Using Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) you will learn how to manage your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. DBT is a great resource for teaching you how to regulate your feelings and emotions. DBT also helps you to change negative patterns, habits, behaviors, and thinking.

— Jenn Bovee, Counselor in Bloomington, IL

In DBT, we learn to think and act dialectically. A dialectic is when two opposing things are both true. The skills taught in DBT are mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, interpersonal, and self compassion.

— Brandi Reinhard-Ferrese, Counselor in Bozeman, MT

Specialized Training. Certificate from Evergreen Certification Institute since 2018.

— Ashley Strang, Psychologist in Grand Rapids, MI

In 2002, I received two weeks of paid training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy through San Mateo County in California. They were opening a new residential treatment center, and DBT was going to be the focus for treatment. I ran DBT groups with the county for over twelve years. I currently use DBT in all parts of my practice and run a bi-weekly art therapy/ DBT group.

— Deann Acton, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Austin, TX

I got training in DBT through the Comprehensive Implementation & Training Initiative. I have worked as a full fidelity DBT therapist for two years .

— Jana Corbett, Psychologist in Portland, OR

I have used DBT also for many years in individual and group counseling. I find that it is very helpful to others.

— Cindy Athey, Counselor in Clearwater, FL

Provide evidence based tools that assist you on an individual basis

— Tisha Lane, MS,RMHCI, Counselor in Naples, FL

DBT is extremely effective for some problems and I have practiced it extensively in groups and individually and taught it to many clinical staff. It is a complicated treatment and if you are interested please call for a brief discussion about what it involves and whether it will meet your needs.

— Louise Will-Wallace, Psychologist in Falling Waters, WV

I am a nationally certified DBT provider trained in both DBT and RO-DBT. I adore the specificness of the interventions and how fast they have an impact.

— Grace Nyblade, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Olney, MD