What is Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)?

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is an evidenced-based treatment to help clients diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) also known as Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD) who self-harm or engage in self-destructive ways of managing their emotions.

DBT was developed by Professor Marsha Linehan and grew out of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), behavioural therapy and eastern meditative practices.

Our team consists of trained DBT therapists who have delivered full programme DBT (recommended by National Institute for Clinical Excellence see www.nice.org.uk) in the NHS for many years.

The aim of DBT is to build a life worth living. Each client will identify a set of ‘life-goals’, things he/she wants in his or her life that would make life more fulfilling and less crisis-laden and will simultaneously be working on reducing and eventually stopping suicidal or self-harm behaviour.

Participating in the evidence based, recommended DBT programme involves firstly a period of assessment and commitment (4-8 sessions) and then involves attending individual therapy once a week as well as participating in a weekly group skills training programme, each cycle would last at least 6 months and you might attend 2 cycles. You also usually have access to telephone coaching with a DBT therapist to get support to stay safe and skilful in between therapy sessions.

Please note: we are unable to provide the group component at this time, we can only offer the programme individually and therefore, cannot offer ‘full’ DBT.

DBT is delivered by a DBT ‘team’. This is important in ensuring therapists stay fresh and alert to the needs of their clients by gaining the support and advice of their fellow DBT therapists.

Individual Sessions

Clients meet with their individual DBT therapist weekly. The focus of the individual session is to think about how you have been feeling during the week and review target behaviours you are working at reducing.

Skills Training Programme

Please note: Hampshire & Surrey Psychology is unable to run the skills training in a group, only individually.

Telephone Coaching

To help promote skills use between sessions as an alternative to self-harming/ destructive behaviours, clients in DBT are encouraged to call their DBT therapist when they need support to be skilful. Each client will have their own agreement with their DBT therapist as to the times this will be offered. A reasonable amount of telephone coaching is included in the overall price of DBT sessions.

Getting Better and DBT

DBT is a Stage One treatment. In DBT, clients who have managed to learn and apply new emotion coping skills and are no longer engaging in self-destructive behaviours, may feel increasingly confident about moving forwards in their lives.

Sometimes, clients are aware that there are further issues they need to work on, for example, complex trauma issues or eating problems. If this is the case, Stage Two treatments may be needed and can be discussed with the Team. Usually, in DBT we advise that there be a period of consolidation of what has been learned, before commencing a Stage Two treatment.