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West Hills is a city in Los Angeles County, California. It is an affluent residential and commercial neighborhood that is in the westernmost part of San Fernando Valley. West Hills is known for having many parks and green spaces and is conveniently located near a variety of entertainment and dining options. Situated only half an hour from the heart of downtown LA, it is also a great place for commuters. Los Angeles Times asserts that the percentage of residents aged 35 and older in West Hills is among the highest in Los Angeles County. When seeking mental health support, residents of West Hills need not look far, as there is a plethora of highly qualified mental health professionals and programs located within the West Hills neighborhood. 

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Psychologist Marsha M. Linehan developed dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) in the late 1980s as a means to more effectively treat chronically suicidal individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD). It is an evidence-based psychotherapy that combines techniques from western cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), psycho-educational modules, and eastern mindfulness-based practices to foster the systematic learning of new emotional coping skills. The philosophical perspective of dialectics, balancing opposites, influences the DBT process. Through DBT an individual will learn to identify ways to hold two seemingly opposite perspectives simultaneously. This, in turn, promotes balance and minimizes the tendency to think in absolutes (e.g., viewing all in black and white, all-or-nothing style of thinking, etc.). DBT encourages an inclusive worldview and perspective (both- and) instead of an exclusive (either- or) outlook on life. Dialectical behavior therapy helps teach clients healthy coping mechanisms and useful techniques for managing stress, regulating emotions, and improving relationships with others. 

The therapeutic approach consists of three different therapy settings, including weekly individual psychotherapy sessions, weekly DBT skills training group therapy sessions, and as-needed phone coaching to provide additional support between weekly individual and weekly group sessions. DBT focuses on providing therapeutic skills in four areas, known as the four behavioral skill modules, that make up the pillars of DBT, which are core mindfulness (focusing skills), distress tolerance (crisis survival skills), emotion regulation (de-escalation skills), and interpersonal effectiveness (social/ relationship skills). Each module emphasizes distinct and specific skills that build upon each other and are integral to one’s healing process. DBT can be effective for individuals of all ages, and although it was originally developed to treat individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, evidence has shown it to be a successful treatment method for individuals struggling with an array of other mental health conditions.

There are many DBT programs as well as a variety of highly qualified mental health providers offering DBT that have extensive experience, expert knowledge, and specialize in working with teenagers and adult clientele available in West Hills. The DBT Clinical Resource Directory is a directory that serves as a mechanism to search for clinicians and programs that have gone through DBT training with Behavioral Tech, LLC, or the Behavioral Research & Therapy Clinics (BRTC) at the University of Washington. 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.