What is DBT?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based treatment that is highly effective for conditions involving emotional or behavioral dysregulation. It has become the standard of care for the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder and can be instrumental in the treatment of many other conditions, including addictive disorders, depression, trauma-related disorders, and eating disorders. DBT helps patients achieve stability and build resilience through the development of the skills necessary to regulate emotions, tolerate distress, and communicate effectively.

DBT Informed:

DBT-informed treatment incorporates the principles of DBT but doesn’t require all the aspects or stages of the complete program. With this approach, only the methods that are most needed are used, but DBT-informed treatment doesn’t include all five of the components of comprehensive DBT

In DBT-informed, different training and skills can be utilized to meet the individual needs of a client rather than moving through specific stages.  A person who is not severely ill or suicidal may benefit from the more flexible and personalized approach offered by DBT-informed.

For those with more severe symptoms, comprehensive DBT is often the most effective approach to treatment. Many people find that with DBT there is a low level of treatment dropout, and it’s an option that works when other forms of therapy have been ineffective. At Valera, we offer DBT informed treatment consisting of some informal DBT skills used in sessions, as well as stand alone DBT skills groups. 

DBT Comprehensive Program:

Comprehensive DBT is the highest quality form of DBT in which all of the clinicians have received specialized, intensive training and the program itself adheres to specific methods and protocols that ensure the integrity of the model.


While DBT has become widely available, most programs and therapists offering DBT provide “DBT informed” therapy rather than true, evidence-based Comprehensive DBT.  For treatment with DBT to be considered comprehensive, it needs to include all four of these modes of treatment, including:

Individual therapy to enhance motivation- These sessions are customized to the needs of each individual, and are intended to enhance motivation and help patients apply skills to their own lives.

Skills group to enhance capabilities-These sessions are based on the key elements of DBT including Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotion Regulation, and Interpersonal Effectiveness. Groups offer the opportunity to practice skills in a safe, structured environment with other people. Group sessions run for 75 minutes and a specific set of skills is covered each week.

Phone coaching to generalize skills to the natural environment- For individuals who receive individual DBT sessions through Valera, we will also provide ongoing telephone/messaging support. This is a key factor in success, allowing patients to reach out when they are struggling and receive timely direction and support from a compassionate, understanding therapist.

Consultation team meetings to enhance therapist motivation and capability-The consult team does not directly involve clients or families, yet it is an important time for clinicians to consult with other clinicians on any issues that come up, counteract burnout and make sure they are able to support their client’s care at the highest level.

Is DBT right for Me?

You struggle to maintain positive relationships with partners, family, friends

You seem to lose people quickly or suddenly due to fallouts

Your emotions interrupt with work, goals, and relationships 

Your emotions feel debilitating and overwhelming

Experiencing feelings of loneliness and hopelessness that feel insurmountable

The 4 Modules of DBT


Mindfulness when referring to DBT helps with  talking through being aware and accepting of the present moment without judging.

Emotional Regulation

Emotional regulation involves changing ones undesired emotions to reduce vulnerability to them. DBT practices extending kindness to ourselves. Challenge your thoughts. For example, if you are thinking, “I am horrible at focusing, instead say, “Focusing is something I struggle with but I’m good at xyz..”

Interpersonal Effectiveness

Interpersonal Effectiveness helps work through learning how to apply effective strategies for managing conflict setting boundaries, and communicating needs to those around us.

Distress Tolerance

Distress tolerance will build one's ability to get through crises situations without furthering the issue at hand and accepting reality as it is. It helps in understanding the distinction between acceptance and approval.

The heart of DBT is to balance acceptance of the person exactly as they are at this moment in time, with efforts to improve or overcome behaviors that are destructive or maladaptive. This can gradually create a worthwhile life.

You can discuss with our therapists which DBT program would be right for you.