What kinds of problems does DBT treat?

The DBT model of treatment, initially developed by Marsha Linehan, PhD, is based on extensive research into what causes personal change. This approach first was proven effective in treating individuals with extreme emotional dysregulation (i.e. quickness to intense emotion and difficulty returning to baseline). However, further research has demonstrated its effectiveness with a broader range of problems. At Mt. Diablo Psychological Services, we offer treatment to adults and adolescents struggling with mood disorders, interpersonal problems, anxiety and trauma, addiction, and personality disorders.

How do I know whether DBT is the best treatment for my problems?

A helpful way to determine whether DBT is a good match for you is to go to the “DBT: Is It Right For You?” page and assess yourself using the checklist. This will help you decide if DBT would be beneficial for you.

What are the goals of DBT?

  1. To develop a mindful awareness of your thoughts and feelings.
  2. To learn how and under what circumstances ineffective emotions and thoughts get triggered.
  3. To recognize ineffective patterns of responding.
  4. To manage intense negative emotions so that they have less influence on your decisions and behavior.
  5. To communicate in such a way that others are more likely to listen.
  6. To manage interpersonal conflict effectively.
  7. To learn new and more effective ways of coping with life’s problems.
  8. To find more peace and calm in your life.

What will I learn in DBT?

You will learn a repertoire of skills including tools for managing strong emotions and communicating more effectively. In addition, you will learn how to increase your mindful awareness of the thoughts you are thinking, the emotions that you are feeling and the physical sensations that you are experiencing. Each of these has a tremendous influence on the way we act, what we feel and how we perceive things.

Why should I attend both Skills Training Group and Individual DBT?

The skills groups are where you learn the DBT skills and the individual sessions are where you learn to apply the skills in your life. Everyone in DBT is required to be in individual therapy. Whether you decide to add a skills group to your individual DBT sessions will depend on your unique goals and the severity of your symptoms. If your goal is to learn skills and integrate them into your life as quickly as possible, we recommend you do both individual therapy and group DBT.

 If I am in a DBT Skills Training Group, do I have to see a DBT therapist for individual therapy or can I continue to work with my outside therapist?

You are welcome to join a skills group while continuing to see your outside therapist. Sometimes, when clients aren’t seeing the progress that they wish to see, they will choose to see a DBT individual therapist for the duration of the skills group. They then return may to their outside therapist.

Are DBT Skills Training Groups a kind of group therapy?

DBT skills groups are a type of group therapy, but they are psychoeducational in nature (similar to a class) and not process or support groups. Skills are taught, discussed, and practiced during group sessions.

How can I get started learning the DBT skills on my own?

A number of books and websites provide information on the DBT skills. Please go to the “Resources” tab on this website for a list of recommended reading and website links.


Does what we talk about in the DBT Skills Training Groups remain confidential?

Yes! What is discussed in DBT skills groups is confidential. Participants sign an agreement that states information discussed in group will remain confidential.