Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a skills based model of psychotherapy that provides concrete, practical tools for coping with difficult emotions and challenges.

DBT is a behavioral approach to treatment, designed to help one better understand the connection between their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Identifying and understanding our vulnerabilities allows us to cope better when we feel triggered or dysregulated. By increasing our awareness of what we feel and why, we can either prevent unwanted emotions from happening in the first place, or respond more effectively when they do arise.

What makes DBT a unique treatment model is its emphasis on dialectical thinking. Dialectical thinking is the ability to accept two opposing viewpoints at the same time. In DBT, one learns to accept reality as it is, while simultaneously changing the thoughts and behaviors that are no longer serving them.

In DBT treatment, you’ll gain skills in the following areas:

  • Mindfulness
    Learn how to direct your attention to the present moment to reduce suffering
  • Emotion Regulation
    Understand what emotions do for you, where they come from, and how to regulate them
  • Distress Tolerance
    Survive crisis moments without avoiding them or making them worse
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness
    Identify, build, and maintain healthy relationships.

Comprehensive DBT has 3 parts:

  1. Individual Therapy
    The therapist helps the patient stay motivated, apply the DBT skills within daily life, and address obstacles that might arise over the course of treatment.
  2. Group Therapy
    Sessions are held weekly and focus on learning and practicing practical skills related to Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Distress
    Tolerance, and Emotion Regulation.
  3. Phone Coaching
    Coaching sessions are used on an as-needed basis, and are typically between 5-15 minutes long. During these sessions, the therapist helps the
    client access their toolbox and identify which skill would be most effective in managing their presenting problem.

DBT is evidence based and has been proven effective to treat:

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Binge eating disorder
Bipolar disorder
Bulimia
Generalized anxiety disorder

Major depressive disorder
(including treatment-resistant major depression and chronic depression)
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Substance use disorder
Borderline Personality Disorder

DBT Testimonials

I have been in therapy for 30 years. I was never given any skills in therapy to improve myself except in my self help groups. DBT has been by far the most useful of all the modalities I have encountered in my journey to become a healthier more evolved person. I am extremely grateful that I took it before the pandemic. The ”skills” I learned assist me on a daily basis to deal with the emotional battering that has accompanied this worldwide upheaval.

Stevie has given me concrete skills that I can use to manage my emotions and deal with any crisis and there are MANY. When I started DBT I was suffering from an anxious depression which was extremely uncomfortable. Thanks to DBT I was able to pull myself up and out of the depression and loose the dreaded anxiety.

I am now emotionally stable and confident that I can surmount any emotional obstacles that I might encounter.I have something to fall back on when the SHTF. I hope that one day when the virus is under control I could take another DBT again. I looked forward to it every week even though I was totally depressed.

I’ve pretty much established ‘I’m doing the best I can, AND I can do better’ as my mantra. I remember when I first heard it, I actually thought it was off-putting and should have just stopped at ‘I’m doing the best I can.’ And yet, after reviewing it so often in the group and applying it outside of DBT sessions, it became second-nature. I typically apply it when I catch myself judging others on their behavior.

Or, if I do end up judging others, and in turn begin to judge myself for not having applied the ‘mantra,’ I use it for myself. Truthfully, it has crossed my mind to abuse this and use it as an excuse or a “get out of jail free card” but I don’t want to do that. That’s precisely the sort of behavior that prompted me to attend the DBT group in the first place!

It’s that second part ‘AND I can do better’ that is absolutely necessary to make it work. DBT is hard. AND it’s sometimes cheesy, uncomfortable, frustrating, boring, repetitive, confusing, and comical. AND it’s extremely helpful – AND you have to be committed to do the work. AND that work really pays off.

At the suggestion of group therapy my initial response was that is way too much; I am never going to open up to a room full of strangers. My only experience had been through television portrayals of support groups, however DBT is so much more than that (though those are also helpful in their own way). At some level, anyone with emotions who interacts with people should go through DBT.

The skills teach you how to look at the world in a more nuanced way. Rather than avoiding one’s emotions, especially at the detriment of their health, the group member is taught to tap in. This is not to mention the group aspect, meeting others (specifically other female identifying people) who are struggling similarly and to hear their take on this emotional journey makes the experience that much more interesting. The homework can feel like a lot and the book weighs a ton, but the knowledge gained from the group is worth the effort. Sometimes even twice!

I have been in and out of therapy since middle school (yes, middle school). I learned all the cognitive behavioral techniques that would supposedly “cure me” of my soul sucking eating disorder, and everything that came with it, and teach me that my thoughts guide me feelings, which guide my behavior (blah blah blah). For me, just KNOWING what I was feeling, wasn’t enough. I never learned skills to deal with these feelings, and so my eating disorder raged on.

Fifteen years later, I found myself sitting in front of Stevie, my new therapist after moving to NYC. She was telling me to feel my feelings. Not just telling me to feel one feeling at a time, but to feel a few, and to sit with them, and to own them, and to accept them. She taught be the life changing model of DBT. DBT has truly and undoubtedly changed my life, my relationship with food, my body, myself, and the people around me.

I now understand that I can accept reality as it is AND use helpful skills in my everyday life to cope with uncomfortable emotions and look at life in a whole new perspective. DBT not only helped me conquer the seemingly insurmountable terror that was my eating disorder (and everything that came with it), but to learn to live in an imperfect world with distress tolerance and acceptance – which has brought me peace beyond my wildest dreams.

Book A Free Phone Consultation

Please note: that we do not take insurance in most cases. Click the toggle to read more.

TMP reserves a limited number of appointments for those using in-network insurance benefits. Please contact us directly to check your eligibility and the availability of these appointments.

We do not participate in Medicare nor Medicaid. If we cannot accommodate your in-network benefits and you have “out-of-network” benefits, we will help you, if you like, apply for reimbursement from your insurance company by providing you with a receipt that you can submit for out of network benefits.

Since every insurance plan is different, you may want to call your insurance company directly to ask how much you will be reimbursed for your visit. It might be helpful to supply the insurance company with the specific codes we use for our initial therapy visit (CPT code 90791) and for follow-up visits (CPT code 90834). For visits with our Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, we use for our initial visit (CPT code 90792) and follow-up visits (CPT code 99214).

free consulation for therapy/counseling in midtown nyc

Book A Free Phone Consultation

TMP reserves a limited number of appointments for those using in-network insurance benefits. Please contact us directly to check your eligibility and the availability of these appointments.

We do not participate in Medicare nor Medicaid. If we cannot accommodate your in-network benefits and you have “out-of-network” benefits, we will help you, if you like, apply for reimbursement from your insurance company by providing you with a receipt that you can submit for out of network benefits.

Since every insurance plan is different, you may want to call your insurance company directly to ask how much you will be reimbursed for your visit. It might be helpful to supply the insurance company with the specific codes we use for our initial therapy visit (CPT code 90791) and for follow-up visits (CPT code 90834). For visits with our Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, we use for our initial visit (CPT code 90792) and follow-up visits (CPT code 99214).

free consulation for therapy/counseling in midtown nyc