Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a type of therapy that is aimed at helping individuals who have very intense emotions. DBT treats emotional dysregulation and focuses on developing and strengthening coping skills to help us pay attention, reduce impulsivity, have healthy communication, and regulate our emotions.

DBT Tri-Counties pays special attention to adolescents and their relationship to their family members. DBT was invented by Dr. Marsha Linehan for individuals with borderline personality disorder and is used by Matt Metcalf, MSW, LCSW and many more practitioners in helping families develop a life worth living and to have relationships worth having.

The starting point

When you start your journey of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy you may have a lot of questions. We have four pretreatment sessions which cover the following:

Each one of these sessions helps us learn whether or not DBT Tri-Counties is the right fit. If it is, great!!! We would love to work with you. If not, we can provide appropriate referrals.


DBT skills is a fulfilling and fun part of DBT. For those who wish to increase focus, become more self-aware and reduce their pain and suffering, mindfulness training can be extremely helpful. To reduce our level of impulsivity we utilize distress tolerance skills.

We have other skills more geared towards making changes in our lives such as our emotional regulation skills and our interpersonal effectiveness skills. How family therapy sessions and groups focus on walking the middle path. All these skills modules were developed by Marsha Linehan Alec Miller, and Jill Rothus.


While mindfulness is a skills group, we also place a very high emphasis on it. Studies have shown that mindfulness can be extremely helpful with our decision making and our own patience. Mindfulness is also important in reducing our levels of burnout which often can be necessary for family members of those who have very intense emotions as well as for those individuals who have very intense emotions themselves.

Structured therapy

DBT individual and family sessions are structured sessions that involve completing assignments, filling out forms prior to sessions and often participating in exercises that can help us gain insight into our own thoughts, emotions and behaviors. Individual sessions last for 45-60 minutes, whereas family sessions last from 60-90minutes.

Consultation among therapists

Therapists get burnt out to and need to consult with each other on a regular basis. Each week we hold a consultation group to discuss the ways that therapists can honor the fidelity of DBT to a higher standard and to make sure that they are helping our clients and families in the best possible way.

Phone coaching

Often during the week our families need to be able to reach out to their therapist in order to obtain skills coaching in order to generalize these skills. Generalize means that they can take these skills and they can apply them to everyday life. It is helpful for phone coaching to focus on skills that way the family and individual sessions can address other more therapeutic subjects.