What is DBT?

Developed at the University of Washington by Marsha Linehan, PhD, ABPP, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is one of the most effective treatments for chronic emotion regulation problems. It has been used with both adolescents and adults for the treatment of personality disorders, chronic suicidality, self-injury, substance use, eating disorders, and several other psychological problems.

I am one of the only Fort Collins psychologists that offers the full DBT program, which includes individual therapy, skills group training, telephone coaching, case management, and consultation team.  I completed the DBT Intensive Training™ through Behavioral Tech in 2016 with trainers Melanie Harned, PhD and Elizabeth Dexter-Mazza, PsyD.

DBT is ideal for clients with one or more of these emotional experiences:

  • Painful emotions from which a person feels there is no escape
  • A chronic sense of “feeling nothing”
  • Quickly shifting from one emotion to another
  • Feeling like emotions are overwhelming, confusing, or controlling your life
  • Having problems with anger, anxiety, and depression

In addition, DBT addresses the following difficulties:

  • Difficulties in interpersonal relationships
  • Living with a sense of emptiness or feeling like you are confused about who you are
  • Impulsive behavior, suicide attempts, or self-injury
  • Confused or fearful thinking
  • Coping with distress through self-harm, eating, substance use, risky sexual behaviors, or avoiding everything

Sometimes providers will say they offer DBT but really only provide certain parts. When seeking DBT services be sure to ask which components providers offer. It is important to note that not everyone needs all of these components, but for certain problems, research suggests that a comprehensive approach is essential. We can determine which parts will be most beneficial to you, and tailor a program to best fit your needs.

For more information about DBT, take a look at the following resources: