Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

What is DBT?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy is a type of talk-therapy and a modified form of cognitive-behavioral therapy. It was developed by Marsha Linehan in the 1980s and has since been used to address a number of mental health concerns. The overall purpose of DBT is to “learn how to change your own behaviors, emotions, and thoughts that are linked to problems in living and are causing misery and distress,” (Linehan 2015). This includes:

  1. Developing and enhancing emotional and behavioral capabilities.
  2. Increasing motivation by reframing inhibitions and reinforcing contingencies.
  3. Assuring that new skills are able to be applied to “real-life.”

This kind of therapy focuses on adjusting client behaviors to increase quality-of-life. DBT also emphasizes strategies for communication, commitment, and structure.


What does “Dialectical” mean?

Dialectical, as related to DBT, means “two opposite ideas can be true at the same time, and when considered together, can create a new truth and a new way of viewing the situation. There is always more than one way to think about a situation.” DBT encourages a shift from “either/or” thinking to “both/and” thinking. For example, “this is really hard for me, and I’m going to keep trying.” (Rathus 2015).

Who does DBT help?

    DBT is designed to help those with:

  • Intense emotions
  • Impulsivity
  • Self-harm
  • Strong reactions during communication
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Unhealthy relationships
  • Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • PTSD
  • Eating Disorders

Who doesn’t DBT help?

    DBT is not designed for those with:

  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder
  • Active psychosis
  • Schizophrenia
  • Violent history
  • Anti-Social Personality Disorder
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder

How can I join?

ITS is currently on a wait list. For an estimate regarding the DBT-specific wait time, please call the office.
To become established on the wait list, please visit our New Client Page and complete the New Client Form, or call the office and speak to Client Services.

All participants in DBT will get the same skills in individual DBT as they would in the skills group. However, if you are required to do DBT by an outside agency (i.e. court, DSHS, etc.), DBT at ITS will not meet the criteria for those programs.

To join DBT, clients are required to sign a contract that they will only see the DBT therapist for the duration of the program. Due to the highly structured methodology of DBT, having only one therapist ensures that there are limited conflicting approaches and that each session is a continuation of previous skill-building sessions. This contract does not apply to couples or family therapy.

New Evening Adult Group

Beginning January 13, 2022, an evening group will be starting for DBT clients ages 18-24. The group will run on Thursdays from 6:15-8:00 PM.
For additional information or to get established on the wait list, please contact the office.

Skills Training
  • Learn new behavioral skills to gain control of intense emotions, increase awareness of self and others, and reduce unhelpful, impulsive behaviors.
  • Take-Home Assignments/Homework allow participants to apply the learned skills to their every day life.
Individual Therapy
  • Enhances client motivation to apply skills in everyday life.
  • Reinforces skill use and helps increase positive quality-of-life behaviors.
Phone Coaching
  • Reinforce skill use in difficult life circumstances.
  • Increase the individual’s ability to manage stressful situations on their own.
call: 253.460.7248
email: hello@integratedtherapynw.com
fax: 253.564.4409
3560 Bridgeport Way W
Suite 2-C
University Place, WA 98466