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Psychologist Marsha M. Linehan developed dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) in the late 1980s, after the result of her own transformation that occurred in 1967. It is a therapeutic method specifically geared to treat individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD), suffering from pervasive suicidal thoughts and/ or attempts. DBT emphasizes the psychosocial aspects of treatment and promotes the systematic learning of new emotional coping skills. Psychology Today explains that the “goal of DBT is to transform negative thinking patterns and destructive behaviors into positive outcomes.” Although it was originally developed and remains the gold standard method of treatment for individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, evidence has shown it to be an effective method of treatment for many other mental health conditions.

DBT Format

Dialectical behavior therapy is a multifaceted, rigidly structured therapeutic approach. It is carried out in three therapeutic settings: weekly individual psychotherapy sessions, weekly DBT skills training group sessions, and as-needed phone coaching. Within each setting, DBT focuses on enhancing the capabilities of each participant by teaching behavioral skills related to the four modules that make up the pillars of DBT, which include: core mindfulness (focusing skills), distress tolerance (crisis survival skills), emotion regulation (de-escalation skills), and interpersonal effectiveness (relationship/ people skills). Each module highlights distinct and specific skills that build upon each other and are individually and collectively integral to the success of this therapeutic intervention. The entire DBT program takes about six months to complete, as six weeks is allocated to each of the four modules. 


The philosophical perspective of dialectics, balancing opposites, influences the DBT process. DBT places significant emphasis on learning how to accept and validate uncomfortable feelings, thoughts and/ or behaviors, instead of exerting energy trying to push away, ignore, and/ or change discomfort. A mental health clinician offering DBT services works with his or her client to identify ways to hold two seemingly opposite perspectives simultaneously. This, in turn, promotes balance and minimizes the tendencies 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. This empowers a client to learn applicable social and emotional skills, healthy coping mechanisms, and useful mindfulness techniques to effectively cope with stress, live in the moment, regulate emotions, and improve relationships with others. 

Treatment In Calabasas

Calabasas is a city in California. It is a well-known suburb of Los Angeles, located west of the San Fernando Valley and north of the Santa Monica Mountains. Over the past decade, the city of Calabasas has grown in its reputation for luxury as well as for privacy which makes it a hidden gem for residential living for society’s elite, and one of the most desirable destinations in Los Angeles County. It is also home to a plethora of highly qualified mental health clinicians providing an array of therapeutic services and treatment options. 

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.

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