Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a form of Cognitive Behavior Therapy directed towards individuals with emotion dysregulation. An important component of DBT is skills training which is presented in four categories, defined below:
In clinical practice, these skills are extremely helpful for individuals seeking therapy for nearly any reason. DBT not only provides highly relevant and often greatly needed skills in areas of emotional functioning, reducing crises, and improving interpersonal relationships, but also promotes increased happiness, self-awareness, contentedness, clarity, sense of purpose and self-esteem.
DBT has gained much popularity and its effectiveness as a therapy is backed by extensive research, particularly for individuals with extreme emotional sensitivity and/or unpredictable emotional reactions. My intensive training and clinical experience in Dialectical Behavior Therapy includes completing a full 10-day DBT intensive training led by Marsha Linehan, PhD, who created Dialectical Behavior Therapy. I was very fortunate to subsequently practice DBT, both as a therapist and clinical director, with one of her colleagues in two DBT clinics during my 8 years as a clinician clinical director and faculty member at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA where Dr. Linehan is based.
I have found DBT to be very helpful in my current clinical practice, often with adolescent clients, as well as with adult clients, and offer weekly individual DBT sessions. I work closely with Dr. Hillary Wishnick, a clinical psychologist offering DBT skills groups for adolescents and adults and thus am able to provide a more intensive DBT therapy experience with participation in one weekly individual therapy session and in one weekly DBT skills group. I maintain a limited number of DBT individual therapy openings as this is a highly sought-after service. I regularly attend a DBT consultation group with local DBT clinicians and continue to further my training in DBT by participating in continuing education to offer the most current DBT skills and techniques. If you or your adolescent has participated in an intensive outpatient or residential DBT program, this is an ideal transition to weekly therapy services, as I will help build on the DBT skills you have learned and help you apply them to your daily life.
DBT was originally designed for individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder. It has now been shown to be effective in the treatment of many disorders including those with substance abuse, eating disorders, and addictive behaviors. I often bring DBT techniques and DBT skills into my therapy sessions as the skills are widely applicable.