Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

DBT is a cognitive behavioral treatment which was initially used to treat clients who were suicidal and suffering from borderline personality disorder. Today, DBT is seen as the one of the best treatment options for individuals who are among those that suffer. Along with treating BPD, Dialectical Behavior Therapy is effective for treating disorders such as substance dependence, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and eating disorders.

Treatment for DBT is divided up into four separate stages, which each stage is divided up by how severe the clients behaviors are, where therapists work with their clients to achieve goals and make progress towards having a life that is worth living in the individuals eyes.

In the first stage, clients are miserable and their behavior is out of control. For example, they may be attempting to kill themselves, self harming, using drugs and alcohol, or proceeding with other self-destructive behaviors. When individuals first start treatment, they express their experience of their mental illness as, “being in hell.” Therapists in this stage are set to lessen the clients out of control behavior and get them to be able to control their behavior more.

In the second stage, Clients have their behavior under control, but they still suffer due to past traumas. The goal of this stage is to move the client into a state of full emotional experiencing. this is also the stage that PTSD would be treated.

The third stage is having the individual learn to live. the client should build self-respect, set life goals, and find peace and happiness. The goal is to have the client live an ordinary life of both happiness and unhappiness.

The fourth and final stage expands further into a more spiritual existence for those who are not satisfied by living a life with simply happiness and unhappiness. At this stage, the goal is to move the client towards a life of joyful experiences and freedom.

The goal is to help group members improve their interpersonal relationships, learn to regulate their emotions, tolerate stressful situations, reduce target behaviors, and learn mindful strategies.

The DBT group is a Psychosocial Skill Training Program that helps clients reach a healthy balance in their lives. In the group, clients will learn skills that help them improve their quality of life and reduce their emotional suffering.

The standard DBT Skills Group is a six month training program that meets weekly for one to one and a half hours. However, CHD offers a variety of psychosocial skills training groups based on DBT.

DBT Brochure

Updated List of Skills Training Groups Based on DBT

CHD’s DBT services will include but not be limited to the following:

  • Outpatient individual treatment
  • Outpatient skills training groups
  • Telephone consultations
  • Consultation team meetings

Research has proven this type of therapy to be effective by reducing suicidal behavior, non-suicidal self-injury, psychiatric hospitalization, treatment dropout, substance use, anger, depression, and improving social and global functioning.

You must be:

  • At least 18 years old to be admitted to an adult DBT group or 12 to 18 years old for the DBT adolescent groups.
  • Willing to have an individual therapist by the first session.
  • Willing to reduce therapy interfering behavior and not come to group sessions under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
  • Willing to work toward solving problems in ways that DO NOT include intentional self-harm or attempted suicide.
  • Committed to participating fully for the length of the group.

Interested people will need to go through a pre-screening/orientation process with the director of DBT services to understand the expectations of the DBT program and how you might benefit. Please call (413) 737-1427 to set up an appointment.