Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a cognitive-behavioral treatment developed by Marsha Linehan, PhD and her team at the University of Washington. It has two key components: a behavioral, problem-solving focus blended with acceptance-based strategies, and an emphasis on dialectical processes. “Dialectical” refers to the issues involved in treating patients with multiple disorders and to the type of thought processes and behavioral styles used in the treatment strategies.

DBT is most commonly used with, and has the most evidence of effectiveness for, individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, but can also be used with other behavioral health conditions including PTSD, suicidality and self-harm, substance use disorder, eating disorders, and even depression and anxiety.

DBT has five main parts:

  1. Skills training
  2. Individual behavioral treatment plans
  3. Access to therapist outside clinical setting, homework, and inclusion of family in treatment
  4. Structuring of the environment (programmatic emphasis on reinforcement of adaptive behaviors)
  5. Therapist team consultation group

DBT is an evidence-based treatment.

Learn more about DBT and find DBT providers at the CT DMHAS website, below: