What is DBT and is it the right approach for you?

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy or DBT is a cognitive behavioral approach focusing on those who struggle with managing their intense emotional experience in everyday situations. Specifically, it is for those who lack coping mechanisms, have extreme emotional responses to stresses, and who struggle to maintain relationships because of emotional instability. The goal of DBT is “to help individuals change behavioral, emotional, thinking and interpersonal patterns associated with problems in living.” This is accomplished by focusing on different areas of distress and identifying coping tools to manage emotional deregulation.

Is it right for me?

This approach may seem straightforward and easy to implement. Those that benefit the most from this approach to therapy suffer when they are unable to center their emotions or tolerance levels to a baseline that is reasonable for them or those around them. If this is the case, it is important to find a therapist that has been extensively trained and supervised in DBT. The Treatment And Research Advancements for Borderline Personality Disorder offers the following tips to finding the right DBT Therapist at this link: https://www.tara4bpd.org/new-page-71/

DBT Skills:

Below is a description of the DBT skills training group component.

DBT skills training group
is focused on enhancing clients’ capabilities by teaching them behavioral skills to improve being more effective in life. The group is run like a class where the group leader teaches the skills and assigns homework for clients to practice using the skills in their everyday lives. Groups meet on a weekly basis for approximately 1.5 hours and it takes 24 weeks to get through the full skills curriculum at which point an assessment is made to decide what the best next course of action would be.

DBT includes four sets of behavioral skills.

  • Mindfulness: the practice of being fully aware and present in this one moment to help reduce suffering and increase happiness
  • Distress Tolerance: how to tolerate pain in difficult situations, not change it, and to learn to accept painful experiences
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness: how to ask for what you want and say no while maintaining self-respect and relationships with others
  • Emotion Regulation: how to understand and change emotions that you want to change

There is increasing evidence that DBT skills training alone is a promising intervention for a wide variety of both clinical and nonclinical populations and across settings.

DBT Skills Training Group follows an open enrollment policy and meets weekly on Tuesday evenings in Annapolis. If you are interested and want additional information, please contact the office at 410-979-2326 or email jennifer@cpeclinic.com.

All of our providers are out of network and do not participate with any insurance programs. Please contact your insurance provider – click here for a guide for How to Check Your Health Insurance.  Some clients have success advocating for out of network benefits – here is some information that you might find helpful about advocating for out of network benefits.


To make an appointment with any of our providers, please call the office line at 410-979-2326. You can also email erin@cpeclinic.com or jennifer@cpeclinic.com.