Evidence Based Therapies
Dialectical BEHAVIOR THERAPY (DBT)
DBT is an active, present focused therapy that involves collaboration with your therapist to skillfully navigate emotions
DBT helps you identify and evaluate how your emotions affect your urges and behaviors
DBT has a substantial skills component aimed to increase your ability to experience and respond to emotions
The TAP clinic currently offers a comprehensive DBT program (individual and group therapy), as well as DBT Family therapy.
What DBT is: Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based treatment designed to treat individuals who struggle with emotion regulation difficulties and who engage in problem behaviors such as suicidal behavior and non-suicidal self-injury (e.g., cutting, burning). These individuals may have difficulties with depression, anxiety, substance use, or eating disorders and may have a history of traumatic experiences. DBT has a considerable amount of research support and is considered the gold standard treatment for borderline personality disorder.
The TAP Clinic offers a comprehensive DBT program that is implemented with fidelity to the model articulated by the treatment developer, Dr. Marsha Linehan. A comprehensive DBT program includes four elements: individual therapy (weekly), group skills training (weekly), phone coaching (as needed), and consultation team (for therapists only). Four sets of skills are taught in the adult curriculum: Mindfulness, Emotion Regulation, Distress Tolerance, and Interpersonal Effectiveness. The adolescent curriculum includes the same four modules plus the Walking the Middle Path module, in which adolescents and their caregivers learn about validation, behaviorism, and common family dilemmas that occur with teens. Both Adolescent and Adult DBT programs at TAP are certified by the Linehan Board of Certification (LBC).
Our consultation team includes the following providers:
Lorie Ritschel, PhD (DBT Certified Clinician by the Linehan Board of Certification)
Kathryn Byars, PhD (DBT Certified Clinician by the Linehan Board of Certification)
Becca Edwards-Powell, LCSW (DBT Certified Clinician by the Linehan Board of Certification)
Nicole Turner, LMFT (DBT Certified Clinician by the Linehan Board of Certification)
Cara Lusby, PhD
What DBT treats:
DBT was initially developed to treat people who were chronically suicidal and who had borderline personality disorder. The treatment has been studied in a number of randomized controlled trials, and we now know that DBT is helpful in
high emotional sensitivity (frequent, often rapidly shifting emotions) and reactivity (intense emotions), as well as impulsive behaviors that come as a result of difficulty regulating emotions (e.g., suicidal ideation, self-injury, anger management concerns, substance use, impulsive spending, high-risk sexual behaviors). DBT is also helpful for experiences of mood disturbance, anxiety and stress, and traumatic experiences, particularly if there are impulsive behaviors that are related to such experiences. In addition, DBT has been modified for use with couples and families who seek to reduce chaos and problematic behaviors in the home, and to improve their communication and connection to one another. Newer research suggests that DBT skills may be helpful for individuals with autism spectrum disorders as well.
TAP Clinic comprehensive DBT Programs:
DBT for Adolescents (middle school & high school aged teens)
The DBT-A program is a full-model DBT program for middle-school and high-school aged adolescents and their families. The program includes individual therapy for the adolescent, group skills training for the adolescent and a parent/caregiver, and phone coaching for both the adolescent and their family. Teenagers must be in individual therapy with a DBT therapist who has completed intensive training in DBT to be eligible for this program.
DBT for Adults (18+)
The Adult DBT program is a full model DBT program for adults (18+) struggling with intense emotions and impulsive behaviors aimed at regulating those emotions. You must be in individual therapy with a DBT therapist to be eligible for this program.
DBT for Couples and Families
DBT for couples and families utilizes the behavioral principles and skills of standard DBT and applies them across the couple or family unit. Family members are taught how to apply DBT skills to familial interactions, how to better validate and understand others’ points of view, and how to apply behavioral principles more effectively. Several members of our team were intensively trained in DBT for couples and families by the treatment developer, Dr. Alan Fruzzetti.
DBT Standalone Skills Training Groups:
DBT for Neurodivergent Adolescents (middle school & high school aged teens)
Research suggests that DBT skills may be a helpful addition to treatment for people who would benefit from improving emotion regulation skills even if they are not in need of a comprehensive DBT program. In conjunction with the UNC TEACCH Autism program, TAP has developed a DBT skills training group for neurodivergent adolescents - i.e., those who meet criteria for ADHD or who are on the autism spectrum. Teenagers who participate in this group must have an individual therapist, although the therapist does not need to be a DBT specialist. Caregivers are included in the program as well.
Learn More: You can learn more about DBT and TAP's DBT-LBC certified program and clinicians by reading the below blog posts: