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what is dbt?

Individual Therapy/Group Skills Training/Telephone Coaching​/

/Consultation Team​/


Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder that was originally developed by Marsha M. Linehan.  Comprehensive DBT must include four core elements of treatment:  Individual DBT Therapy, Group Skills Training, Telephone Coaching, and Consultation Team.  


Individual DBT Therapy:  The purpose of individual DBT therapy is to assist clients in working through personal issues and to help them learn to apply new skills (learned in group) to their own lives.  The individual therapist also serves as the skills coach in between therapy sessions by providing telephone coaching.


Group Skills Training:  One of the assumptions of DBT is that clients need to learn new skills.  The skills training group, typically a 2 or 2 1/2 hour session, is an opporuntiy for clients to learn skills to help them build lives worth living.  The DBT skills are divided into several modules targeting core areas that individuals with BPD tend to struggle in:  Mindfulness, Emotion Regulation, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Distress Tolerance, and *Middle Path Skills (*developed for adolescents and families).  Mindfulness is typically taught for 2 sessions in between each module, as it lays the foundation for all of the other skills.


Telephone Coaching:  A main goal of telephone coaching is to assist clients in generalizing the skills they have learned in therapy to their lives outside of therapy.  Coaching calls are a helpful way for the therapist to guide the client in implementing new, more skillful behaviors in the moment when they are needed.


Consultation Team:  As DBT is a complex treatment, DBT therapists recognize that they need support and professional consultation to ensure that they stay within the treatment.  You must have at least two clinicians to form a consultation team.  Teams typically meet on a weekly basis for two hours.  


For more detailed information about DBT and its research base, please select the buttons "TIC", "Behavioral Tech," and "NREPP."  For information about BPD, please select the button "BPD."

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