Upset Young Woman Sitting Alone with Her Head in Her Hands on Bench Next to Books and Backpack.What is Comprehensive DBT?

Developed at the University of Washington by Marsha Linehan, PhD, ABPP, DBT is an evidence-based treatment used to help persons who have difficulty managing emotions. This may be experienced as:

  • Painful emotions from which you feel there is no escape
  • Quickly shifting from one emotion to another
  • Feeling like emotions are controlling your life
  • Problems with anger

In addition, DBT addresses the following difficulties in life:

  • Difficulties in interpersonal relationships
  • Living with a sense of emptiness or feeling like you are confused about who you are
  • Impulsive behavior or self injury
  • Confused or fearful thinking

Comprehensive DBT includes several components:

  • Weekly individual therapy
  • Weekly skills training, typically in a group setting, conducted separately from individual therapy
  • Contact with your therapist outside of your individual session (most often by phone)
  • Therapist attends a weekly DBT consult team
  • Clients complete daily diary cards
  • Skills from all modules are taught (mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and middle path)

Sometimes providers will say they offer DBT but really only provide certain parts. When seeking DBT services be sure to ask which components providers offer. It is important to note that not everyone needs all of these components, but for certain problems, research suggests that a comprehensive approach is essential. Your provider can determine which parts will be most beneficial to you, and tailor a program to best fit your needs.

For more information about DBT, take a look at the following resources: