What is DBT?

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, more commonly known as “DBT”, is a comprehensive and highly effective treatment for people suffering from extreme, chronic and life altering emotional pain. DBT aims to effectively treat the person suffering in extreme emotional pain and it also includes help for the loved ones, also suffering from seeing and experiencing their loved ones in pain. DBT is an evidence-based treatment, meaning there have been and there are ongoing clinical trials that prove its effectiveness along with its positive impact on each client’s life.

DBT was created and authored by Marsha Linehan, Ph.D., ABPP at the University of Washington. Dr. Linehan originally conducted her DBT research on clients suffering with symptoms primarily associated with Borderline Personality Disorder; however DBT is more commonly known now for its effectiveness in treating people suffering from extremely complicated emotional problems such as: chronic suicidality, non-suicidal self-injury (i.e. cutting and burning), suicidal threats, extreme problems with relationship problems, multiple hospitalizations, extreme anger, substance/alcohol abuse, eating disorders and an overwhelming sense of emptiness, shame and overall feelings of hopelessness and defeat.

In short, DBT aims to effectively teach people how to regulate their extreme emotions and respond to those extreme emotions in a healthier way. DBT consists of a unique combination of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance Strategies, Dialectics and Skills Training. When used together by an adequately DBT therapist, these core DBT strategies help sufferers gain a better understanding the origins of their emotions, how to control their emotions, how to think about themselves and others with less judgment and more compassion, while also increasing basic life skills. DBT helps people create lives worth living, and loving!

As a comprehensive treatment package, DBT structures the treatment into four modes of care to ensure each client receives the most effective experience: weekly individual therapy sessions using core DBT strategies such as change, acceptance and dialectical strategies. Individual therapy typically employs the use of the daily DBT diary card and Behavioral Chain Analysis/Solution Analysis as a regular method of gathering current information regarding the ways each person experiences and copes with emotional pain. The second mode of DBT treatment includes weekly DBT Skills training to teach new ways to cope with emotional pain. The third mode of treatment in DBT includes the DBT telephone coaching (i.e. skills coaching) to help with emotional crisis occurring between sessions when waiting for the next therapy session isn’t reasonable or safe. The fourth DBT mode includes a peer consultation team of DBT therapists built to provide support, help and resources for the DBT therapist.

Some DBT providers offer just one or some modes of DBT and we call that “DBT Informed” treatment.  Others provide all four modes. It is important for each person seeking DBT services to know what level of DBT is available, and needed, before making the decision to enroll in a DBT program.f

For more information, see the website link on Behavioral Tech, LLC, founded by Marsha Linehan

Behavioral Tech “What is DBT?”

FBPDA Policy On Providing Provider Referrals


FBPDA strives to provide information to consumers on treatment providers in Florida who specialize in treating Borderline Personality Disorder. FBPDA recommends Evidence-Based Treatment for all mental health problems. New, evidence-based treatments are being developed as the research grows. Currently, Dialectical Behavior Therapy is the most widely researched treatment for BPD with 44 independent studies showing it is more effective than typical treatments. Therefore, FBPDA will strive to collect, publish and share information about providers who are utilizing evidence-based treatment, particularly DBT. Since there is currently a dearth of comprehensive DBT programs in Florida, FBPDA will also publish and share information about providers who strive towards providing fully comprehensive evidence-based treatment but who may not have the resources or full training. That is called “DBT Informed”. The information that is collected, shared and published is based on information obtained from those providers and will be published in this format:


  • – Provider or program name
  • – Location and contact information
  • – Training
  • – Population treated (adults, children, teens)
  • – Modes of treatment provided.


FBPDA cannot be held accountable for whether that information is accurate or not. It is up to the consumer to educate themselves on what constitutes an effective treatment and provider or to find out any other information desired. Please read and accept following disclaimer to access the referral pages:


FBPDA, as an organization, encourages the use of DBT therapists who are intensively trained and DBT programs that are as comprehensive and adherent as the therapy designed by the DBT founder, Marsha Linehan. . However, since the certification process for DBT is expected to be completed sometime in 2014, and since intensively trained DBT therapists are not practicing in every region of Florida, it is up to the consumer to learn the questions to ask to insure that the provider is adequately trained to do adherent, evidence-based treatment for the specific needs of the BPD client (See below for tips for finding a DBT therapist). FBPDA does not assume responsibility for the outcome of any referrals provided.



No, take me back home