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Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behavior Therapy is an evidence-based, cognitive behavioral treatment originally developed to treat chronic suicidal ideation, self-harm behaviors and traits of borderline personality disorder. The treatment model has proven effective in treating other complex, and challenging disorders such as substance dependence, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD].

The term “dialectical” means a synthesis or integration of opposites. The primary dialectic within DBT is between the seemingly oppositestrategies of acceptance and change. For example, DBT therapists accept clients as they are while also acknowledging that they need to change to reach their goals. In addition, the skills and strategies taught in DBT are balanced in terms of acceptance and change.

The overarching goal of DBT is a life worth living. Clients who commit to participating in DBT will learn skills to help accept certain aspects of their lives while working on changing other aspects. These skills consist of: mindfulness skills, distress tolerance skills, emotion regulation skills, and interpersonal effectiveness skills.

Clients who wish to participate in comprehensive DBT must commit to all four components of the treatment model:

  1. Individual DBT Sessions
    • Focused on enhancing client motivation
    • Helping clients apply DBT skills to specific events in their lives
    • Weekly sessions run concurrently with DBT Skills Group
  2. DBT Skills Group
    • Focused on enhancing client's capabilities by teaching behavioral skills to practice and use in day-to-day life
    • DBT skills are introduced and discussed in the group setting - homework is assigned for clients to practice applying the skill to build mastery
    • Meet on a weekly basis
    • Enrollment for two six-month cycles ensures that skills are covered and mastery is attained
  3. Phone Coaching
    • Therapists provide clients with in-the-moment coaching on how to use skills to effectively cope with difficult situations that present in their everyday lives.
  4. DBT Therapist Consultation Team
    • Teams meet weekly and are composed of individual therapists and group leaders involved in the DBT program
    • Designed to help therapists maintain competency and motivation so they can provide the best treatment possible


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**The use of evidence-based interventions aligns with our agency's vision to be the foremost mental health provider for youth, adults, and families in Carroll County by providing innovative, culturally sensitive, and highly-effective treatment. CCYSB curently uses five treatments which are evidence-based models requiring fidelity to the model.

Program Director

Robin Harlan, LCPC

People Cared For

Adolescents (14+), Adults, Older Adults, Young Adults

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