I began utilizing Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) skills training early in my counseling career as an addictions counselor in a residential treatment facility. I then became a treatment provider for an adolescent intensive outpatient program that primarily utilized DBT skills training, and I continue to use this technique in my work with individuals today.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy was created by Dr. Marsha Linehan in response to personal experiences and professional experiences with suicidal ideation, self harm, and chronic mood instability. The foundation of DBT is cognitive behavioral therapy, however DBT adds mindfulness skills and interpersonal skills to facilitate recovery and mental health for the whole person: mind, body, and soul.
I provide DBT in individual therapy. DBT is my primary therapeutic orientation, and as a result, I use it regularly in sessions. I have found that DBT skills and practices can be incredibly effective for most–if not all–clients. I also provide intensive DBT Skills training work for individuals. This may be a good option for clients who cannot attend group due to schedule conflicts, or for clients that already have a well established relationship with a therapist. This option allows clinicians that do not have the schedule availability or knowledge of DBT to refer clients for a brief period of time (8-12 weeks, 2-3 sessions a week) to complete intensive skills training. The client will then return to their original therapist, in order to continue treatment. Collaboration with the referring therapist is encouraged and welcomed. This is available to clients age 14 and up.
Traditionally, DBT Skills training is offered in a group. I provide a weekly evening group for adult clients age 19 and up. The group is held year round, once a week. This group is facilitated by two licensed professional counselors, both trained in DBT. This group utilizes the Linehan workbook and materials. Clients are also required to be in regular individual therapy; this therapy can be with myself or the other group facilitator, or with a therapist outside of my practice. This group is appropriate for those with trauma history, addiction, eating disorders, personality disorders, and other chronic mental health concerns such as depression or anxiety. Currently the group meets on Thursday nights from 5:30 pm- 7:00 pm. New participants must call ahead to enroll in the group, and are allowed to start on the first Thursday of the month (unless that date falls on a holiday.)