Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a model of psychotherapy, developed by Marsha Linehan, Ph.D. at the University of Washington. It is designed to help individuals learn how to regulate intense emotions and gain control over self-defeating behaviors. DBT has multiple clinical trials demonstrating its effectiveness by combining individual therapy with skills training and telephone coaching in between sessions to help participants build the life they desire. A consultation team supports the therapist in providing effective treatment. 

For a program to call itself DBT it must have all of the following components:

  • Individual Therapy
  • Group Skills Training
  • In-between session coaching
  • DBT therapist weekly consultation meeting

The skills include 5 modules:

The 5 Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Skills Modules:


Skills to help us cultivate the ability to be in the present, letting go of the past or excessive worries about the future. Mindfulness helps us to avoid getting caught up in our thoughts which often lead to emotional reactivity; and increases our ability to tolerate discomfort and experience joy.

Distress Tolerance

Skills to help us tolerate painful situations without acting impulsively and ultimately worsening our circumstances. Distress tolerance skills allow us to ride out the storm of our most intense emotions and are used to help us cope during a crisis.  They can also increase our ability to tolerate short or long term physical and emotional pain.

Emotion Regulation

In this module we develop an understanding of our emotional system. We learn skills to help us reduce our vulnerability to intense negative emotions while increasing opportunities for pleasant events. We also learn to approach painful emotions rather than avoid them, thus decreasing their intensity.

Interpersonal Effectiveness

Skills to help us ask for what we want and need, and have healthy boundaries in relationships. We balance this with preserving important relationships and building a sense of respect for oneself.

Walking the Middle Path

Skills that allow us to balance acceptance and change by moving away from all-or-nothing and black and white thinking. We learn how to be more validating of ourselves and others and shape behavior change.

More About DBT and DBT Informed Psychotherapy

DBT May Benefit You If You Suffer From Any Of The Following

  • Intense emotions and/or mood swings that you don’t understand or can’t seem to control
  • Impulsive and/or self destructive and self defeating behaviors
  • Relationship and interpersonal problems
  • Depression or anxiety
  • An inability to focus and experience joy in the present
  • Chronic sense of emptiness

DBT Informed Psychotherapy

Not everyone needs comprehensive DBT but many can benefit from components of it. Princeton Center for DBT and Counseling, in Princeton, NJ offers various combinations of therapy informed by DBT therapy including DBT informed individual therapy or skills training as a supplement to an individual’s current psychotherapy. A determination of the best treatment plan is based upon a collaborative process which includes the therapist, client, and the client’s other treatment providers if applicable.

Individual and Group Psychotherapy

We offer a range of services including Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), mindfulness-based psychotherapies, trauma therapies and more. Learn about our individual and group therapies for clients, their parents, partners, and families offered at our Princeton, NJ location.