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 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.

— darrell marsh, in Los Angeles, 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, Licensed Professional Counselor in Longmont, CO

I do not currently offer comprehensive DBT with skills coaching, but I do incorporate knowledge and techniques from my advanced training in DBT in therapy when applicable. I help my clients learn DBT skills from emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, mindfulness, and distress tolerance modules to help them better manage stressors, improve relationships, and live life in line with their personal values.

— Nicole Issa, Clinical Psychologist in Providence, RI
 

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 also utilize RO-DBT with clients with eating disorders, OCD, and other disorders of overcontrol.

— Jessica Sprengle, Counselor in Austin, TX

I integrate the importance of mindfulness and skills-development into the weekly therapy practice to address issues of emotion regulation. This is not full-fidelity DBT, but rather an integration of DBT components into an interpersonal style. If you are seeking full-fidelity DBT services, please refer to http://www.dbt-lbc.org/ for a directory of DBT therapists.

— Brittany Boney, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Portland, OR
 

I have studied DBT in depth for several years and even went to a DBT therapist myself in graduate school when going to therapy was a requirement to graduate. So, I have professional and personal experience with DBT and I find that it is one of the most effective tools to use with Bipolar clients.

— Catharine Pritchard Hawks, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA

I have training in this method to help clients utilize coping and skills to get through many troublesome areas that life may bring about.

— LaShanna Stephens, Counselor in Macon, GA
 

My formal training is in DBT, which has four main parts: Mindfulness, Emotion Regulation, Distress Tolerance, and Interpersonal Effectiveness. DBT was originally created for those in chronic distress, but the skills can easily translate over to helping those struggling with relationships, stress, depression, trauma and life transitions. While I don't exclusively use DBT in my practice, I often utilize different components of DBT to match my client's needs.

— Rachael Lastoff, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Newport, KY

DBT a therapy similar to CBT which focuses on changing patterns of behavior that are not helpful, such as self-harm and suicidal thinking. The goal is to help people increase emotional and cognitive regulation by identifying triggers that lead to reactive states. Developing Mindfulness skills and Radical Acceptance are core components of this treatment.

— Kesha Martin, Counselor in San Antonio, TX

I have completed DBT training and for more than two years ran DBT groups in the partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient levels of care, focusing primarily on applying interventions to eating disorders. I have integrated DBT into my therapy practice since the beginning of my work seven years ago.

— Meredith Thomas, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Cincinnati, OH
 

Experience in traditional DBT and intensive training in RO DBT, Meredith will work closely with you to identify life changing skills that will regulate mood or help you with social signaling that get you the results you want out of relationships.

— Meredith Riddick, Counselor in Ashburn, VA

Extensive experience and training in the use of DBT skills. I use these primarily as an adjunct to the analytic work, particularly with clients who need concrete skills to help them deal with overwhelming distress early on in therapy, and I do NOT practice classically "adherent" DBT.

— Kylie Svenson, Associate Clinical Social Worker in San Francisco, CA
 

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, Counselor in Spokane Valley, WA
 

A dialectic is the tension created by two ways of looking at things that are in conflict: a thesis and an antithesis. Most often, these impasses are quickly resolved as we move toward a resolution to the problem they pose: a synthesis. But we can get stuck, and many of the problems we bring to therapy represent those areas of “stuckness.” DBT helps us identify the dialectics in our lives and teaches us skills to help us find the solutions we seek.

— Val Jones, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Mount Vernon, WA

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 Raleigh, NC
 

I have extensive training and experience in DBT, having conducted groups and individual therapy for thousands of people over the years. It is also the framework I employ in dealing with the challenges of my own life. It is a highly regarded therapy for persons with borderline personality disorder. It is now recognized as effective over a wide variety of challenges. DBT is not merely a treatment strategy, it is also a world-view, a way of thinking about therapy and clients, validating their essential dignity and worth as human beings.

— John Eichenberger, Counselor in Fairport, NY

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a comprehensive multi-diagnostic, modularized behavioral intervention designed to treat individuals and groups with sever mental disorders and out-of-control cognitive, emotional and behavioral patterns. It has been commonly viewed as a treatment for individuals meeting criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) with chronic and high-risk suicidality, substance dependence or other disorders.

— Deborah Blum, Counselor in North Miami Beach, FL
 

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
 

Developing skills to self sooth and regulate emotions, increase distress tolerance, improve interactions with others,

— Julia Derouen, in Arden, NC

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
 

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, Counselor in Minneapolis, MN

You will benefit from DBT through mindfulness, regulating your emotions, tolerating distress, and having effective interpersonal relationships.

— Gerda Phillips, Counselor in Phoenix, AZ
 

I have been intensively trained by DBT founder Marsha Linehan's company BTech in DBT. I have been practicing DBT for almost 10 years with great results. I have continued my education by attending multiple DBT workshops and trainings, including one by Marsha Linehan herself!

— Jenna Rasmussen, Counselor in Portland, OR
 

I am not certified in DBT; however, I do enjoy using its tools and skills to improve flexibility in thinking and behavior.

— Liberty McClead, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Sharpsburg, GA
 

Extensive experience and training in the use of DBT skills. I use these primarily as an adjunct to the analytic work, particularly with clients who need concrete skills to help them deal with overwhelming distress early on in therapy, and I do NOT practice classically "adherent" DBT.

— Kylie Svenson, Associate Clinical Social Worker in San Francisco, CA

I offer DBT therapy individually and in groups (for teens and adults). DBT is amazing to be able to approach any challenge in a mindful manner. This approach addresses the need to connect mind and body health as well as understand how to cope in a health manner when we are experiencing emotional instability. DBT also teaches us about our emotional vulnerabilities and communication skills and how to handle them in the best way to protect our relationships.

— Amanda Woodard, Licensed Professional Counselor in Centennial, CO
 

Dialectical Behavior Therapy brings together two ideas: accepting things as they are (what we cannot control) while also motivating us to own our power to change things for the better (what we can control). The goal is to develop ‘wise mind’, or the capacity to be realistic and mindful of our situation rather that succumb to reactive behavior. DBT combines Cognitive-behavioral tenets (looking at how emotions and thoughts affect our behaviors) with Buddhist meditative practices to help people struggling with suicidality, anxiety, depression, trauma, addictions, and more. The main points of DBT are: mindfulness/meditation; communicating effectively in relationships, how to better tolerate distress and cope with triggering emotions. Whether it’s learning to meditate, trying out positive self-talk, exposing themselves safely to challenging emotions, or practicing difficult conversations they want to have with loved ones, my clients find much practical use of DBT.

— Evan Honerkamp, Art Therapist in Denver, CO

I have had extensive training in DBT and was member of the Robert J. Dole VA Behavioral Health DBT consultation group. DBT skills and concepts have been shown to be not only an effective treatment for individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder but also for individuals with depression and anxiety. I have used the concepts and skills from DBT in successful work with individuals who suffer with depression and anxiety.

— Rita Snider, Social Worker in Wichita, KS

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
 

My clients are taught new coping skills and ways to tolerate difficult emotions. Sometimes, it helps to come to a place of acceptance of the things we cannot control. Trying to control something we cannot change is never a win! I help clients even out the highs and lows, so that you become better able to manage emotions.

— Matianna Baldassari, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Santa Monica, CA

I also utilize RO-DBT with clients with eating disorders, OCD, and other disorders of overcontrol.

— Jessica Sprengle, Counselor in Austin, TX
 

This therapy teaches patients how to find the middle path with thinking and behaving. It includes "Mindfulness," "Distress Tolerance," "Emotion Regulation," and "Interpersonal Effectiveness." I use problem-solving interventions to work in what is present and at the same time assisting the patient to build a satisfying life by creating healthy boundaries with others. I teach patients to learn how to shift dysfunctional thoughts and replace them with effective and functional ones.

— Roberto Olivo, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Glendale, CA

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) teaches skills in the areas of mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation and interpersonal effectiveness. Applying DBT I help clients improve their ability to accept and be present in the moment, increase their tolerance of negative emotions, rather than avoid them, manage and alter intense emotions and learn to communicate with others in an assertive, self-respectful way that strengthens their relationships.

— Dagmara Svetcov, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Allen, TX
 

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 Hampton, VA

I have been utilizing Dialectical Behavior Therapy in my practice for over 4 years. The integrations of psycho education and practice provide an ideal opportunity for complete healing for the client. DBT utilizes mindfulness, emotional regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal relationship skills to provide a holistic approach to healing.

— Michelle Smith, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Palm Beach Gardens, FL
 

I utilize DBT to help you how to live in the moment, manage stress, identify and take charge of your emotions, and improve relationships with others. I will provide you many tools and techniques to deal with the problem in the here and now.

— Nicole Byrne, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Oakland, CA

I have been providing DBT to clients for 3 1/2 years. I have provided individual therapy as well as facilitated groups.

— Liz Imparato, Licensed Professional Counselor in Phoenix, AZ
 

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.

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

I have been utilizing dialectical behavior therapy in my practice for over 4 years. The integrations of psycho education and practice provide an ideal opportunity for complete healing for the client. DBT utilizes mindfulness, emotional regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal relationship skills to provide a holistic approach to healing.

— Michelle Smith, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Palm Beach Gardens, FL
 

I utilize DBT to help learn how to live in the moment, manage stress, identify and take charge of your emotions, and improve relationships with others. I will provide you many tools and techniques to deal with the problem in the here and now.

— Nicole Byrne, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Oakland, CA

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) provides clients skills in the areas of mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulations and interpersonal effectiveness. I help clients improve their ability to accept and be present in the moment, increase their tolerance of negative emotion, rather than avoid them, manage and change intense emotions and learn to communicate with others in an assertive way that maintains self-respect and strengthens their relationships.

— Dagmara Svetcov, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Allen, TX