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Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Process: 8 weeks
Time: 1.5 to 2 hours per session
Number of participants: 6 to 8
Age: 13 to 18 years old (with or without existing mental health assessment)

What is DBT?

DBT is a broad based skills training program developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan for individuals struggling with chronic issues associated with suicide/suicidal ideations. DBT and DBT skills training is an intervention created to work with individuals struggling to cope when in crisis.

The effectiveness of DBT is to address emotions or emotion reactions. These emotions are associated within individual thought processes (cognitive) and behavioral patterns (i.e. for youths having trouble in managing their emotions) – and these contribute to individual decision-making skills that could affect/influence safety, the increase of risks, impulse control/management, interpersonal relationships, and self-esteem (self-image and well-being).


For youths or individuals who are experiencing continuous cycle of crisis, they mostly react on impulse with limited choices of coping. In most cases, these choices are on the extreme sides of their decision-making spectrum leading to questionable/irrational responses (i.e. a youth decided to end their life or extreme withdrawal/isolation). What DBT does is to open a pathway for these extreme sides to work together (or to connect) and come up with a safer solution.

Four Domains to cover (within the 12-week curriculum)

  • Mindfulness
  • Distress Tolerance
  • Emotion Regulation
  • interpersonal Effectiveness

What can DBT do in terms of treatment mode – the therapy process itself?

  • Improve motivation
  • Enhance capabilities
  • Ensure (safe) generalization
  • Ensure (to understand, to work with) environment
  • Maintain skills and motivation of treatment providers