DBT Clinic

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  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Clinic

    The University Physicians’ DBT Clinic specializes in providing state-of-the-art individual and group treatment for borderline personality disorder, trauma-related difficulties, and addictive and impulsive behaviors, including deliberate self-harm and substance use.

    What is DBT?

    Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) was originally developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan at the University of Washington to help people who struggle with intense emotions, impulsivity, self-harm and suicidal behaviors, and interpersonal difficulties. Over the past several decades, a substantial amount of research has found that DBT is generally as effective or more effective than other psychotherapies for managing these problems.

    As a behavioral treatment, DBT focuses on helping people change ineffective patterns of coping and learn new, more effective coping skills. One unique aspect of DBT is the focus on balancing empathy and acceptance with a focus on helping clients make behavioral changes in their lives. The ultimate goal of DBT is to help people change the patterns of behaviors that cause problems in their lives, thereby reducing suffering and helping people live in a manner consistent with their goals and values. 

    DBT treatment at the DBT clinic may involve all or some of the following components:

    • Weekly individual dialetical behavior therapy

      Individual treatment provides an opportunity to focus on specific areas of change, and to understand how certain behaviors and ways of responding may have developed and been maintained over time. In individual DBT, clients identify behaviors they want to decrease and those they want to increase, and then work with their therapist to change these behaviors accordingly, using skills from the DBT skills training group.

    • DBT skills training group

      The general goal of the DBT skills group is to help clients learn and refine skills in changing behavioral patterns associated with problems in living. Specific skills focus on improving emotion regulation, distress tolerance, mindfulness, and interpersonal effectiveness. Keep in mind that the DBT skills group is not a psychotherapy group in the usual sense. The group format is most similar to an experiential seminar - its task is to educate the participants in a subject that is both informational and experiential. The group is structured and focused on skills training. Group members are expected to commit to:

      • Regular attendance
      • Completion of written and behavioral homework assignment
      • Willingness to review their homework in the group discussion.
    • Between-sessions phone contact with DBT therapist

      This phone contact provides an avenue for individual therapists to support their clients in applying the skills they learn in DBT. In other words, the individual therapist is the day-to-day coach for the clients.

    • DBT therapist consultation team

      All the therapists at the DBT clinic meet weekly to assist one another in providing effective treatment.