top of page


What is DBT?

DBT is a kind of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) that, according to the evidence, helps reduce the pain and dysfunction of many disorders. Developed for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), DBT is very effective at reducing suicidal and self-harm behavior. It can also be effective for treating complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), some eating disorders, treatment-resistant depression, and substance abuse accompanied by BPD. If the core of your problem is related to emotion-regulation, DBT is worth considering. Click here to take our self-assessment questionnaire, “Is DBT right for me?”


What can I expect from therapy?

DBT requires a commitment to therapy of about 14 months. During those 14 months, you will meet with your individual therapist and attend a weekly life skills class that last 1hr45min. In skills class you will learn mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation and interpersonal effectiveness skills. In your individual session, you and your therapist will work on strengthening and applying the DBT skills to your unique life circumstances to create a life worth living. In between sessions, you will be able to access coaching from your individual therapist to enhance using skills in your day-to-day life. While in DBT, clients may not participate in any other individual therapy. Some DBT clients also see a psychiatrist and take psychiatric medications. 


DBT skills classes are similar to a seminar. Classes includes lecture, discussion, in-session practice and homework assignments. Unlike traditional psychotherapy groups, there is little or no “process” in a DBT skills class. Clients can usually enter skills class within 8 weeks or less of beginning therapy. We currently have two on-going classes offering expert instruction in the DBT skills. Classes are offered on Tuesday mornings 10:00-11:45am and Tuesday evenings 5:15-7:00pm. 


Classes are limited to ten students and are led by two trainers.


Is DBT right for me?

This question is best answered in an interview with a trained DBT therapist. However, to get a general idea of the kinds of problems DBT treats you can read through the nine questions below.


Consider each question carefully and decide if it is:


  • not true at all

  • somewhat true

  • mainly true

  • completely true


If you find that you answer at least “mainly true” to five or more of them, DBT is probably a very good treatment for you. DBT might also be helpful if you answered “somewhat true” to five or more, or “mainly true” to three or four.


  1. Do you have mood swings and labile emotions? Do you find that little things tend to cause emotions to flare and that the emotions are extreme and long lasting?

  2. Do you either over express or under express anger? Does anger cause a lot of problems in your life?

  3. Are you very impulsive? Do you have a tendency to do things under the influence of emotion that you later regret, such as drink too much, spend too much money, eat to excess or engage in inappropriate sex?

  4. Are you confused about who you really are? Do you wonder, for example, whether you really like yourself at all, what your values are, or whether or not you are a “worthy” person?

  5. Are your relationships chaotic and turbulent or do you have few or no lasting relationships?

  6. Do you find that when an important person in your life is upset with you or wants to leave a relationship that you feel overwhelmed with fear of abandonment as if you cannot survive without that person? Does this feeling really frighten you?

  7. Do you find that sometimes, when you are really upset, that you want to hurt yourself, or think you would like to be dead? Do you ever harm yourself intentionally or consider killing yourself?

  8. Do you ever feel empty or numb for long periods of time?

  9. When you are really, really upset, do you sometimes have thoughts that people really want to harm you or are hurting you on purpose even though later you might realize this isn’t true? Do you ever lose track of where you are, or of time, or feel paralyzed when you are very emotional?


When you come in for an appointment, your therapist will go over these criteria with you again to determine if DBT is a good fit for you.


Is DBT right for me?
What can I expect from therapy?
bottom of page