Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) 101

By Sherry Atanasio, LMSW

DBT was developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan in the '80's. It is a structured type of cognitive behavioral therapy with blended elements of mindfulness philosophy to increase acceptance and reduce suffering. In DBT, the "dialectics" represents the belief that "there is truth to all sides" or "walking the middle path." DBT is a reputable treatment for the distress caused by borderline personality disorder and is primarily used to coach clients with increasing adaptive behaviors instead of relying on self-harm or other suicidal behaviors. It also emphasizes on the validating client-therapist relationship as a corrective, non-judgemental healing process to address the effects of an invalidating history (trauma & neglect). Since then it has been adapted to treat other issues such as substance abuse, eating disorder, family support, PTSD, etc. 

The motto of DBT is for everyone to experience "a life worth living." Although DBT requires a commitment, your wellness and livelihood are certainly worth the effort. DBT has been shown to be effective where traditional forms of treatment have not. DBT is delivered in two ways: weekly individual therapy and skills groups. Skills topics are comprehensive and address quality of life issues such as interpersonal effectiveness, emotional regulation, distress tolerance, and with mindfulness elements woven throughout. At Cobb Psychotherapy, we embrace the philosophy of "don't just survive, thrive," so we are excited to be offering a DBT Skills Group in February. More information about the group follows:

  • The group is a closed group with a year to year-and-a-half commitment. 
  • Meetings occur weekly on Saturdays from 3pm to 4:30/5pm, and will take place in midtown Manhattan.
  • The group is structured and offers skills-driven treatment to increase an individual's ability to navigate through emotional crises, balance emotions in a healthy way, increase mindfulness, build healthy relationships and end destructive ones.
  • Contact us at info@cobbpsychotherapy.com or at (646) 661-7356 for more information.  

Sherry Atanasio, LMSW is a therapist in private practice in Manhattan and Brooklyn. If you are interested in incorporating mindfulness and acceptance in your life, or are experiencing difficulty with relationships/communication, emotional pain, or coping with a crisis, visit cobbpsychotherapy.com to learn more about how therapy can help.