Designed in the early 1990s, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) has given hope and confidence to clinicians and clients alike.  Developed by Marsha Linehan, PhD, DBT was originally used to treat chronically suicidal individuals.  DBT quickly became recognized as an evidence-based treatment of choice for Borderline Personality Disorder, Emotion Dysregulation Disorders, and is being used by clinicians across the country to help treat individuals with a wide range of mental illnesses including but not limited to eating disorders, substance use disorders and depression.

Known as a third-wave therapy, DBT moves away from the strict change strategies found in traditional treatments.  In DBT, the therapist and the client balance these traditional change strategies with acceptance and mindfulness.  For example, we help clients to accept their lives and the world as it is in the moment.  At the same time, we help them make changes if they can (and accept it if they can).  It is this consistent balancing and movement between acceptance and change that makes DBT unique.

The word dialectic is mainly used to describe the interaction between two logical arguments to form a resolution or an exchange between a thesis (an idea, an emotion, an urge, a thought, etc.) and its opposite or antithesis. In DBT, therapists help their clients move away from all-or-nothing behavior into more balanced behavior or synthesis. Balance is the hallmark in DBT with the overarching goal being dialectical synthesis. DBT focuses on helping clients to find syntheses in major areas in their lives. For example, we help clients learn how to balance their priorities with other people's demands while maintaining their self-respect and the respect that others have for them. Additionally, we help clients to validate themselves and learn new skills that will decrease their suffering and "build lives worth living".

At The DBT Institute of Michigan, PLLC we are the only service provider in the area that includes all 4 modes of DBT. Because we strictly follow the evidence-based model of DBT developed by Marsha Linehan, PhD, our patients have a better chance at success than therapists who only provide their patients with skills training.  To view research on DBT, please click here .

The 4 modes of comprehensive DBT include:

What is DBT?

Individual Therapy
Skills Training
Telephone Consultation
Consultation Team
Information was summarized/paraphrased from: Linehan, M. M. (1993). Cognitive-behavioral treatment of borderline personality disorder. The Guilford Press: New York. and Lihenan, M. M. (1993). Skills training manual for treating borderline personality disorder. The Guilford Press: New York.