Marsha Linehan, PhD created dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) for clients diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Since its creation, DBT has been shown to be quite effective when applied to a range of problems beyond borderline personality disorder. Those successfully treated have included those who generally experience impulsivity, intense emotions, interpersonal chaos, and difficulty managing internal experiences.
Here are some facts:
DBT teaches a set of skills that fall into four categories: mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness.
Effective DBT treatment includes a few specific components. These components are individual therapy, group skills training, and phone coaching.
Individual Therapy (DBT Style)
Along with meeting your therapist one-on-one, you’ll need to follow a few guidelines. You’ll complete a weekly diary card to keep track of your problem behaviors, feelings, and skill use. Your therapist will also practice mindfulness with you and encourage you to practice outside of session.
Group Skills Training
Often people ask if DBT can be effective without group skills training. The answer is a resounding “no!” Without group skills training, you spend the majority of your individual sessions learning the skills. You get more out of your individual sessions when you talk about your experience applying the skills and present moment problems.
But what if you’re not “good with groups”? That’s perfect. A DBT group is not a processing-style group. You’re not coming here to check in with each other and talk about your week. However, interacting with other people on a regular basis is a good opportunity to be skillful. We need to practice our skills in order to be able to use them when needed.
Phone coaching is another vital component to DBT. For you to be successful in implementing the skills learned in group, you need some support. Phone coaching includes a quick, less-than-15-minute, phone call where I coach you through implementing skills in a difficult time.
Are you considering whether this treatment is right for you? If you’d like more information on how to get started, please contact me through e-mail or schedule a phone-consultation via the client portal. You can learn more about my current Chicago-area DBT Group offerings here.