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Individual DBT in San Francisco

If you struggle with any of the following, DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) can help:

  • feeling like your emotions overwhelm you
  • frequent ups and downs in your relationships
  • problems with anger, especially in your romantic relationships
  • addictive or compulsive behavior
  • self-harm
  • feelings of hopelessness or depression
  • thoughts of ending your life

What is DBT?

DBT combines contemporary research findings on what helps people make lasting change with ancient mindfulness practices borrowed from eastern and western contemplative traditions.

DBT was developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan at the University of Washington to help people who struggled with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) which is often characterized by impulsive behavior, self-harm, difficulty in interpersonal relationships and intense emotional fluctuations.

Now recognized as the gold standard in treating those with BPD, DBT has also proven to be more effective than traditional talk therapy in treating a range of issues that have difficulty in regulating emotions at their core.

DBT Skills

DBT has 4 skills modules, which are taught in our San Francisco DBT skills group.

The 4 skills modules taught in a DBT Skills Group are:

  • Mindfulness
  • Emotion Regulation
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness
  • Distress Tolerance

Individual DBT therapy helps you apply the skills you learned in group in an in-depth way, helping you manage your emotions and your relationships more effectively and improve the overall quality of your life.

What does “dialectic” mean in DBT?

The dialectic in DBT refers to two seemingly opposite things being true at the same time. For example, a central DBT tenet is that we are all doing the best we can at any given moment and we need to do the sometimes uncomfortable work to make changes so we can have the life we want. Both are true.

Another way of describing dialectics is balancing the opposing positions of acceptance and change.

The 4 skill modules represent a tension between acceptance and change. You learn how to change behaviors, thoughts and emotions with Emotion Regulation and Interpersonal Effectiveness skills and you learn how to accept and tolerate what is happening in the present with Mindfulness and Distress Tolerance skills.

How is DBT different than other therapies?

DBT provides a comprehensive set of practical skills to help you manage your emotions, change destructive behaviors and create a life with less suffering and more possibilities for contentment and joy. The therapy is structured around your goals and we will prioritize the things in your life that you most want to change.

If you are in standard DBT treatment, meaning you are in both individual DBT therapy and are participating in a DBT Skills Group, you will have access to phone skills coaching between sessions from your individual therapist to help you use the DBT skills when you most need them.

Wondering how DBT therapy can help you? Contact us for a phone consultation. Our offices are located in the Castro district of San Francisco.