The DBT PE protocol is evidence-based and has been shown to be effective with both male and female adults and adolescents in a variety of settings (e.g., outpatient, intensive outpatient, residential). It was originally developed to treat PTSD in clients with complex problems and high-risk behaviors (e.g., suicidal ideation, self-harm, substance use, severe dissociation, personality disorders), as many of these clients did not substantially benefit from standard treatments. Importantly, research indicates that clients who pursue this treatment are satisfied with it, and that the treatment is both safe and effective in reducing PTSD symptoms, suicidal and self-injurious behavior, dissociation, shame, guilt, depression, and interpersonal difficulties.
DBT PE is based on Prolonged Exposure Therapy and includes adaptations to the standard PE approach to more effectively address complex needs and help you build a “life worth living” and promote trauma recovery. Treatment occurs in three stages. Stage 1 is akin to standard DBT, and includes weekly individual therapy, group skills training, phone coaching, and consultation team for the therapists. The overarching goal in Stage 1 is to achieve stabilization and enhance your skills in both acceptance (e.g., mindfulness and distress tolerance) and change (e.g., emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness). Stage 2 involves directly targeting PTSD symptoms. DBT PE is delivered in weekly 90-120 minute individual sessions while you are simultaneously engaged in the same modes of DBT as in Stage 1. In Stage 3, DBT is used to address any of your residual life difficulties, such as enhancing relationship functioning and values-consistent activities and behaviors.
While DBT PE is extremely effective for trauma-related symptoms, it is not a good fit for everyone. Fortunately, there are a number of other treatments that are effective for trauma-related issues, depending on your preferences and stage of recovery – Cognitive Processing Therapy, Skills Training in Affective and Interpersonal Regulation, Interpersonal Psychotherapy, Cognitive-Behavioral Conjoint Therapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, and Mindfulness-Based Therapy.
If you aren’t sure which of these treatments might be the best fit for you, please feel free to contact us to talk more. We’re happy to help and want to ensure you’re getting the treatment that most suits your needs.