DBT is an evidence-based therapy with decades of research support. Although DBT was originally designed to address the intense emotions and interpersonal stressors that often characterize Borderline Personality Disorder, it has been shown to be effective with a variety of mental health concerns.
DBT emphasizes “dialectics” as both a process of change and a worldview. A dialectical approach to change requires a synthesis of seeming opposites. For example, fully accepting ourselves in this moment, while simultaneously taking steps toward change; embracing the fact that while we are doing our best in any moment, we can also do better. DBT includes both acceptance-based strategies (e.g., living in the present moment without getting caught up in worries about the past or future, getting through distressing situations that cannot be changed) and change-based strategies (e.g., managing intense emotions and thoughts, enhancing our interpersonal skills to improve the quality of our relationships). Treatment is guided by your “life worth living;” that is, what your life would need to look like in order to feel purposeful, meaningful and values-consistent. Enhancing both self-compassion and compassion toward others, as well as understanding the parts of our experiences, reactions, and behaviors, that are valid and make sense, are all important parts of DBT. If you have experienced trauma at some point in your life, you may want to consider a combined DBT and Prolonged Exposure Therapy approach.
Comprehensive or “full model” DBT includes weekly skills group, weekly individual therapy, and telephone coaching. Research shows that skills group alone can be effective in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety and improving coping skills. Opened Heart Therapy currently offers individual DBT skills training and telephone coaching, and will soon be offering DBT skills groups. This level of DBT would not be sufficient for people who struggle with high suicidal urges or self-harm behaviors, but would be a good fit for people who would like to have more satisfying relationships, live more richly and fully in the present, feel less consumed or driven by their emotions, and feel more capable of coping with stressful situations.
If you are unsure whether the kind of DBT therapy we offer is a good fit for you, please reach out for a free consultation so we can figure out what kind of treatment would most meet your needs.
If you are a loved one of someone engaged in DBT, or of someone who struggles with Borderline Personality Disorder or other difficulties related to emotion regulation and interpersonal effectiveness, please consider our multi-family support.