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What is DBT?

DBT is an innovative and unique treatment model for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), developed by Professor Marsha Linehan at University of Washington, Seattle.

Its popularity has grown rapidly in the USA and increasingly in Europe, chiefly due to its success in effectively treating client groups whose emotional problems are particularly difficult to manage within a therapeutic relationship or an institutional setting.

  • Treats patients with a history of chronic suicidal behaviour.
  • Is a unique, team-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
  • Enhances the morale and effectiveness of the therapist.
  • Can be adapted for specialties such as Eating Disorders, Adolescents and Substance Misuse amongst others.
  • Is recognised to treat women with BPD for whom reducing recurrent self-harm is a priority (NICE, 2009).
  • Is cited as an evidence-based intervention in A Vision for Change (Government of Ireland 2006. pp162-3).

Standard comprehensive DBT comprises 4 components:

  • Individual therapy (approximately 60 minutes/week)
  • Group educational skills training (approximately 120 minutes/week)
  • Team meeting (approximately 90 minutes/week)
  • Unscheduled telephone calls (average duration approximately 6 minutes)

 (Limbrunner et al., 2011)