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

Through training, I have learned and implemented DBT with clients. We work together as a team to build skills to have healthy relationships and to manage our emotions.

— Emmily Weldon, Counselor in Port St. Lucie, FL

Dialectical Behavior Therapy can be used in many capacities for many different concerns. I use it in every one of my sessions to help people incorporate self care, emotional regulation, and effective communication skills.

— Adrienne Marcellus, Counselor in Asheville, NC

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 work with my client's to acceptance versus changing problematic emotions as a way to directly target emotional distress. This is accomplished through teaching clients how to decrease emotional vulnerability, regulate and change emotions, and accept and allow emotions to be experienced more fully.

— Trenye Black, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Edwards, CA

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 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

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

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is an empirically validated and widely popular cognitive approach that incorporates skills training and individual therapy to help client's increase motivation, manage stress, regulate emotional experiences and decrease unwanted behaviors. The goal is to make LIFE WORTH LIVING. This approach is dialectical, helping to break all or none thinking with a balanced Middle Path. DBT Skills Training Mindfulness Acceptance Interpersonal Effectiveness Emotion Regulation Distress Tolerance

— Stacy Ruse (Founder), Licensed Professional Counselor in Longmont, CO

Mondays I work with Kristen Lund in St. Paul as a DBT therapist, helping those struggling with emotional regulation. Difficulty regulating emotions often stems from past trauma and from not being taught these skills as young children. Part of your treatment can include participation in DBT group in order to learn and practice concrete skills needed to be effective in your life moving forward.

— Linnea Logas, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Minneapolis, MN

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 completed my graduate school internship at a DBT-focused clinic in Portland. I have completed continuing education in doing DBT-informed therapy, including co-facilitation of multiple DBT Skills group and providing individual DBT Skills coaching for individuals. I love incorporating DBT skills in the initial stages of therapy to expand your toolkit with hands-on and real tools that work!

— Stephanie Podasca, Licensed Professional Counselor Intern

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is centered around developing mindfulness and being present in your daily world, increasing your distress tolerance to help you handle the chaos you have to deal with on the daily, regulating emotions to help keep you feeling balanced, and strengthening your interpersonal relationships skills to support having healthy, meaningful connections.

— Dr. Dana Avey, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Colorado Springs, CO

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