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Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behavior Therapy 

Do you find yourself experiencing emotional overload or frequent sensations of dyscontrol?

Do you find yourself engaging in coping mechanisms such as substance use, suicidal ideation, self harm, ineffective communication, isolation, avoidance and more as a way to help decrease the intensity of painful emotions?


This sense of emotional overwhelm or chaos may be impacting your ability to regulate your own emotions, complete work and school tasks, your relationships with others, and many other valuable parts of your life.

Through use of Dialectical Behavior Therapy individuals experiencing difficulty managing emotions and behaviors can build a life worth living!

What is DBT Therapy?

The goal of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is to help individuals build a life worth living. This means that through therapy, clients will increase knowledge and awareness of a variety of skills so that their life feels meaningful and they feel connected to their personal values. DBT is a form of talk therapy that was originally created for individuals with personality disorders and severe suicidality. DBT draws many components from cognitive behavioral therapy. "Dialectical" means the possibility that two seemingly opposite ideas may coexist together. DBT can help you accept the reality of life, while also helping you learn tangible skills to change behaviors and thinking.

When meeting with one of our therapists for DBT, you will learn skills from the four modules that make up the curriculum. These four modules include:


Core Mindfulness: These skills set a framework for everyday mindfulness, awareness of the present moment, and help with implementation of many of the various DBT skills.


Interpersonal Effectiveness: When working with a therapist around interpersonal effectiveness, you will learn skills for setting boundaries, saying “no”, asking for your needs to be met, and attending to your relationships. 


Emotion Regulation: This is the largest module of the DBT framework. Your therapist will work with you to help identify and name emotions, identify the function of the emotions, levels of intensity, and behaviors you may be using to help tolerate painful or difficult emotions. While all behaviors serve a purpose, not all behaviors are effective and helpful. One of our therapists will work with you to help identify the behaviors that may be causing difficulties in your life and learn skills to engage in more helpful, effective behavior.


Distress Tolerance: Have you experienced situations where you feel “emotion overload” or inability to control your thoughts? Often these may lead to feeling that you are in crisis. With distress tolerance, our therapists will help you to learn crisis survival skills that are effective in managing extreme emotions. 

What is DBT for?

  • Self-harm

  • Suicidality

  • PTSD

  • Substance Use

  • Personality Disorders

  • Bipolar Disorders

  • Eating Disorders

  • Depression

  • Addictive Behaviors

  • Interpersonal Conflict

  • Intense Emotions

  • Anxiety

  • Dissociative Disorders

How can DBT help?

Many of our Therapists have advanced training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy and utilize aspects of it during sessions. Our Therapists meet you where you are at - meaning all treatment is based on your unique needs. Whether you are struggling with substance use, self harm, or intrusive thoughts, our therapists can help. DBT can be a very structured approach, filled with homework between sessions and skills training, whereas some prefer to have a few components of DBT brought into their typical talk therapy sessions. Reach out to our Therapists today to learn more and see what might be the best fit for you and your unique needs.

Common Concerns You and Others May Have

What if I have tried therapy before and it hasn’t worked?

Maybe you’ve tried therapy a time or two before, yet you are still suffering or not seeing the desired results you had hoped for. DBT is a form of therapy that has been used when other forms of therapy have not been effective. The direct nature of DBT combined with skills coaching has been helpful for many clients who may feel “stuck” and “hopeless” in their treatment. Our therapists combine the standard DBT model with a relational approach to best meet the needs of each unique client.

What will my first session be like?

While each therapist has their own unique style, a core component of DBT is identifying what we call target behaviors. Target behaviors are those coping mechanisms that you may find yourself engaging in such as self harm, anger outbursts, suicidal ideation, substance misuse, isolation, avoidance, rumination and many others. The target behaviors that we identify to work on are unique to the individual seeking therapy and are also prioritized in a hierarchy of life threatening (i.e. suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, etc.) to quality of life interfering behaviors (isolation, avoidance, etc.). Throughout the course of therapy, your therapist may discuss treatment interfering behaviors as well. The goal of identifying these various behaviors is to have specific goals to target with the skills you will learn in therapy.

How long does this type of treatment take?

To put it simply, it’s different for each person. Things that we take into consideration during all points in therapy are your personal history, progress towards target behaviors, focus on life threatening versus quality of life interfering behaviors, and your personal goals for therapy. Some people may benefit from short term DBT work, while other people benefit from more long term work. This is something you and your therapist will discuss throughout the treatment process.


I’ve seen DBT groups and individual DBT therapy… which is better?

DBT is a form of therapy that has shown great clinical success in both individual and group settings. The benefit of seeing an individual therapist for DBT is having a set 1:1 time to talk through behaviors, intense emotions, or experiences that may feel quite vulnerable. An individual therapist can tailor your sessions to fit your exact needs. Group is also a great place to learn DBT skills and also have a safe setting with peers who may be experiencing similar symptoms. Group and individual therapy can complement each other nicely during the treatment process.

You CAN gain control over your life again


Take the next step in your healing

If you think our services may be right for you, take the next step and reach out to us today to schedule an initial appointment and find out about our current DBT offerings. We offer local in-person counseling in Austin, TX and online for the state of Texas.

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