DBT is a treatment that was originally developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan (1993) for the treatment of Borderline Personality disorder. Through rigorous clinical research and the culmination of data showing its effectiveness in the treatment of BPD, DBT has become known as the most effective and efficacious treatment for BPD and self-injurious behavior. Further clinical research in the last two decades has shown DBT to be effective in the treatment of other mental health conditions including PTSD, Substance Use Disorders, Eating disorders, Adolescent self-injurious behavior, and treatment resistant Mood disorders.
DBT can be helpful to anyone seeking the ultimate goal of building a life worth living. Through a balance of "Acceptance" and "Change" oriented skills it seeks to help individuals change their dysfunctional behavior patterns while building new behaviors consistent with their own values and life goals.
The treatment developer and international DBT community have been outspoken in advocating on behalf of patients and their families by educating the public on "what is DBT" and what would be considered "Comprehensive DBT services" or an "adherent DBT program". In my turn, I will do the same here in hopes to offer some clarification for you.
First, a comprehensive program would offer the following four components:
1) individual therapy at least once a week by a DBT trained professional
2) DBT skills training group once a week
3) Phone caching services for patients
4) DBT therapists actively serving on consultation teams that are meant to ensure the practitioners fidelity to the model as well as therapy to the therapist.
An adherent DBT program is one that has the ability to offer all four core requirements in addition to having received training by an approved training program including B-TECH (The Linehan Institute), Practice Ground, or Treatment Implementation Collaborative among others. To find a list of approved trainings please visit the links to B-Tech and the Linehan Institute below.
Currently, most research pointing to DBT's effectiveness has focussed on Comprehensive DBT services and adherent programs. Therefore, I highly encourage you as the consumer to make sure you inquire about whether your provider offers comprehensive DBT services or whether they are merely "DBT informed" providers. A "DBT informed" program would offer some components of the four core requirements, mostly the skills training groups, not necessarily the treatment as it was originally developed and further advanced by Dr. Marsha Linehan and her team at the University of Washington.
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