Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)


Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive therapy developed to help those who are struggling with intense emotions, self-harm, and suicidal impulses. It helps people change patterns of behavior and thoughts that get in the way of their goals.

Key Things to Know About DBT

  • Researchers at the University of Washington created DBT as a way for people to manage intense or out-of-control emotions. (Source)
  • DBT was developed to treat people with Borderline Personality Disorder, but its unique combination of therapy techniques makes it useful in treating other forms of mental illness such as post-traumatic stress disorder and eating disorders.
  • DBT can help with emotional regulation and self-destructive behaviors.

How DBT is used?

Standard comprehensive DBT has four parts:

  1. Individual therapy
  2. Group skills training
  3. Phone coaching, if needed for crises between sessions
  4. Consultation group for health care providers to stay motivated and discuss patient care

What DBT Can Help With

  • Mood Disorders
  • Suicidal Behavior
  • PTSD
  • ADHD
  • Aggressive Behavior

The DBT Process & Techniques

  1. Mindfulness: integrating the practice of being fully aware and present in the moment
  2. Distress Tolerance: learning how to tolerate pain in difficult situations instead of attempting to avoid it
  3. Interpersonal Effectiveness: learning how to advocate for and assert one’s wants, including the ability to say no, while simultaneously maintaining self-respect and relationships with others
  4. Emotion regulation: learning how to change unwanted emotions.

Our Approach to DBT at Dakota Family Services

While many mental health providers use aspects of DBT in their practices, Dakota Family Services provides the only comprehensive Adolescent DBT program in North Dakota. Dakota Family Services’ DBT group comprehensively integrates all aspects of DBT to achieve optimal outcomes. 

Dakota Family Services’ DBT Program is for adolescents, ages 13-18, who are “stuck” in therapy, or engaging in dangerous behaviors like suicide attempts, aggression, and self-harm, that cause severe impairment to their (and their family’s) quality of life. Our six-month DBT program is available both in-person (in Fargo) and virtually using sophisticated technology to optimize the group experience.

The intensity of the program, along with its focus on skill-building and parent involvement, make it an effective treatment with long-lasting results. To find out if the DBT Program is right for your adolescent, contact us at 701-551-7015.

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