Dialectic Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

Home Treatment & Wellness Dialectic Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

What Is Dialectic Behavioral Therapy?

What is DBT in a nutshell? DBT strategically blends behavior therapy (change orientation) with validation (acceptance orientation). DBT teaches all of us that we are doing the best we can AND at the same time we need to learn alternative ways to manage our problems more effectively. Learning how to think and act dialectically helps individuals achieve a more balanced lifestyle which ultimately helps people move toward having a life that feels more meaningful and worth living.

Distress, emotional pain, interpersonal difficulties, and behavioral problems such as over-eating, under-eating, using substances, self-injuring, losing emotional and behavioral control, socially withdrawing, or avoiding school or work, can make it incredibly difficult to function normally and lead a life that feels meaningful and worthwhile. DBT targets the issues that cause distress and teaches skills to deal with them without having to resort to maladaptive behaviors.

Developed by Marsha Linehan, Ph.D., DBT was originally introduced in 1991 as a treatment for suicidal and self-injurious individuals diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Individuals with BPD are extremely sensitive and reactive to their emotions which often lead to actions such as self-injury, angry outbursts, or abruptly ending important relationships. Although these actions temporarily reduce emotional pain they often wind up causing other problems that can make life even more difficult.

An Effective Treatment For Multi-problem Individuals

More than forty different research studies conducted around the world have demonstrated that DBT is an effective treatment for multi-problem individuals. Both the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association currently consider DBT to be a first-line treatment for BPD.

As a result of DBT’s success in treating adults with BPD, CBC co-founder Dr. Alec Miller and his colleagues in 1995 began researching and adapting DBT for adolescents and their families. Dr. Miller has become one of the world’s DBT experts and has co-authored three of the leading books and treatment manuals used with teens and families. DBT has also been modified for broader use with adolescents with other psychological problems (e.g. impulsivity, disordered eating, substance use, and anger management, to name a few) as well as other settings (e.g. schools, medical settings).

We welcome all new clients to meet with a Therapist to discuss the client’s goals and to conduct an initial evaluation to help develop a treatment plan that is right for you. CBC therapists can provide individual, family and group therapies and will make recommendations for our large array of unique programs.


Make an Appointment or a Referral

Please contact our Director of Intake Services at 212-595-9559 (ext.1) or 914-385-1150 (ext.1), or fill out the form above, with any questions regarding eligibility, for further information, or to make a referral. If you are a current patient at CBC, please speak to your individual therapist to see how this group may be of added benefit to you.