What Is DBT?

DBT combines cognitive-behavioral therapy and mindfulness approaches to help people understand, accept, and change patterns of living that are causing suffering.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy
What Is DBT

DBT combines cognitive-behavioral therapy and mindfulness approaches to help people understand, accept, and change patterns of living that are causing suffering.


What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy or DBT?

DBT is a style of cognitive behavior therapy that aims to examine the relationship between thoughts, feelings and behaviors. DBT was initially developed by Marsha Linehan, who adapted cognitive therapy to address the needs of clients who have a harder time implementing change. Where traditional cognitive therapy attempts to work with thoughts and feelings in order to change behaviors, DBT begins by targeting behaviors in order to change thoughts and feelings. This is important for many people who, despite knowing better, continue to engage in behaviors that negatively impact their lives.

DBT has been found to be highly effective in treating a wide range of disorders including: Borderline Personality Disorder, Depression, Substance Abuse, Eating Disorders, and Trauma-Related Disorders such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

How Can DBT Help Me?

•​ DBT looks at the whole picture. It is a Biopsychosocial Model of therapy. This is a way of saying that you and your therapist will understand how your body, mind, and environment all work together. With the big picture in mind, DBT helps people understand why they may feel things more intensely than others and stay stuck in self-destructive patterns.

DBT is skills based. You will learn skills that will help you both accept where you are now and allow space to change. Using these skills will help move you closer to living the life you want and deserve to live. This is what DBT calls Dialectical Thinking.

DBT is evidence based. This means there has been research conducted with people who have used DBT that demonstrates that DBT actually works to help people change their feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. For more information on research supporting DBT’s effectiveness, click here

You Will Learn The Following Skills

Mindfulness: Feeling connected to what is happening right now, safely experiencing your bodily sensations, learning relaxation skills.

Distress Tolerance: Having strategies to get through distress, knowing you can stand it, learning to catch yourself before feelings seem too big to handle, responding and taking care of yourself.

Emotion Regulation: Recognizing feelings, learning to experience feelings safely, believing you do not always have to act on every feeling.

Interpersonal Effectiveness: Knowing how to express yourself to others, being comfortable saying no, going through a conflict with someone without having to end the relationship, allowing yourself to feel close to others.

We Are Currently Offering the Following Groups

Our Services

DBT of TOWSON’s 25-week group program consists of three learning modules, which comprise the four aspects of DBT: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation and interpersonal effectiveness. Believing that mindfulness, or the learned ability to pay attention to the present moment is the basis of the other DBT skills, each of the three modules starts with two weeks of mindfulness followed by seven to eight weeks of distress tolerance, emotion regulation or interpersonal effectiveness.

DBT Therapy is most effective when weekly skills-training group is combined with individual DBT therapy. DBT therapy is similar to Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and emphasizes collaboration between client and therapist to identify and address maladaptive thoughts and behaviors. As such, clients are asked to make a commitment to attend skills group, engage in weekly individual therapy with a DBT-trained clinician, and address agreed upon behavioral goals.

For clients enrolled in group whose outside therapist may not be trained in DBT, DBT of TOWSON provides skills coaching sessions on an as-needed basis to help clients better understand how to apply the DBT skills they are learning in group to their individual lives.

DBT of TOWSON was established in 2016 by Katie Holden and Jackie Dressel in an effort to give our emotionally dysregulated clients a place to learn skills to reclaim their lives, their relationships, and their dignity. All of our therapists are fully licensed and have successfully completed Behavioral Tech’s Foundational Training. Our goal is to be a leading provider of high-quality DBT group and individual therapy to clients in the greater Baltimore area.

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