Dialectical Behavior Informed Therapy
The gold standard for treating individuals who have difficulties with emotional regulation.
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a cognitive behavioral treatment that was originally developed to treat chronically suicidal individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and it is now recognized as the gold standard psychological treatment for this population. In addition, research has shown that it is effective in treating a wide range of other disorders such as substance dependence, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and eating disorders. As such, DBT is considered a transdiagnostic, modular treatment.
Established research demonstrating the efficacy of DBT is based on the comprehensive and adherent DBT model. To be comprehensive and adherent, a program must include 5 functions and modes:
Enhance capabilities with a weekly 2-hour DBT skills training group
Improve motivation with weekly individual therapy
Skill generalization with in-between sessions phone coaching
Structuring the environment via contingency management within the program and/or community
Enhancing therapists' motivation and capabilities with weekly DBT consultation team meetings
"DBT informed" treatment is a treatment that uses some of the methods or structure of DBT (e.g., using the DBT manual to teach skills, individual therapy following the priorities of DBT), AND does not meet all five of the functions. While "DBT informed" treatment can be very helpful for some clients, it is important to recognize that research shows that "Comprehensive DBT" is the most effective, especially for clients who suffer with more severe symptoms.