Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), created by Dr. Marsha Linehan, is an evidenced-based treatment approach that incorporates cognitive behavior therapy and mindfulness practices. The model was originally designed, and remains the gold-standard treatment, for individuals with Borderline Personality disorder and other complex behavioral and emotional problems. More recently, DBT has been adapted to treat other common life problems including substance abuse, anxiety, depression, aggression, relationship conflict, and self-harm with adults and adolescents.
Standard DBT includes four components: 1. Weekly individual therapy 2. Weekly group therapy for skills training,
3. Phone coaching by the therapist to help clients apply skills in the moment, and 4. Regular group consultation for the therapist.. Clients are taught a combination of acceptance and change strategies to cope with life challenges more effectively and build a life worth living. Clients receive coaching to apply the skills learned in therapy to change patterns of ineffective behavior over time. The success of this model in helping individuals increase life satisfaction and decrease suffering is due to the combination of the four treatment components, as well as a strong working alliance between client and therapist(s).
A DBT-light approach is offered for individuals who do not require the full standard DBT model. This approach incorporates DBT principles and skills training typically provided in weekly individual sessions. Dr. Waterman works collaboratively with each client during the initial assessment process to determine the most effective treatment approach that will best fit the client’s needs and current life situation.
Elizabeth Waterman, Psy.D