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Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) was originally developed to treat chronically suicidal individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Since Marsha M. Linehan developed DBT in the late 1980s, it has become not only the gold standard form of treatment for individuals with BPD, but also has shown efficacy in treating other mental health ailments (e.g. substance use disorder, bulimia, bipolar disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, etc.), Dialectical behavior therapy is based on the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) approach, but DBT places greater emphasis on the psychosocial aspect of therapy. Dialectical behavior therapy includes three distinct therapeutic settings: weekly individual psychotherapy sessions, weekly group DBT skills training sessions, and intermittent phone coaching. DBT focuses on providing therapeutic skills in four primary areas, which are: 

  • Core mindfulness: the practice of being completely present and aware in the moment 
  • Distress tolerance: becoming tolerant of pain in difficult situations instead of attempting to change it
  • Emotion regulation: decreasing emotional impulsivity, learning to manage and shift intense, problematic emotions   
  • Interpersonal effectiveness: authentically advocating for one’s own wants and needs in a relationship in a way that is both self-respecting and non-damaging

Within each therapeutic setting the four DBT modules are reinforced. Six weeks are typically allocated to learning skills specifically related to each of the four modules, respectively. Hence, it generally takes about six months to complete the entire DBT program. 

DBT In Los Angeles

Every individual is different and is likely to have a distinct response to the different options of therapeutic treatment modalities available. Prior to committing to DBT, it is helpful to make sure the mental health provider is a good match. Fortunately, there is a plethora of highly qualified and exceptional mental health providers that offer dialectical behavior therapy services in Los Angeles, California. Due to the vast number of potential DBT providers in Los Angeles, beginning the search for DBT therapy can seem overwhelming. Consulting your primary care physician (PCP) can be an excellent start to your search. Often PCPs are able to provide recommendations for DBT therapists, and in situations where they may be unable to do so, they will certainly be able to refer you to someone within their professional network that is able to point you in the right direction. Word of mouth recommendations can yield positive results, so it may behoove you to check with your family and friends and see if anyone has any recommendations. There are also a variety of online resources that can help you find a DBT provider in California. For example, Psychology Today has compiled a list of qualified mental health professionals that offer DBT services in Los Angeles. It is important bear in mind that not all mental health clinicians will resonate with every client. Further, each mental health clinician brings with them differing educational backgrounds, professional experiences, and personalities, all of which are woven into their practice.

Disclaimer: 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health.  As such, please do not use any material provided above as a means to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.