What is DBT? 


Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) is a form of therapy that combines cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and mindfulness meditation. DBT helps alleviate problems with emotion regulation, thinking patterns and behaviours that cause misery and distress.

DBT was developed by psychologist Marsha Linehan in the late 1980s, and it has been researched extensively since. Although DBT was originally developed to treat women with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), it has proven effective for a wide range of issues, particularly those stemming from the inability to regulate emotions. In fact, DBT has been shown to: 

·     Enhance motivation and desire to live fully 

·     Improve overall quality of life and create a life worth living

·     Improve emotion management

·     Improve interpersonal relating and communicating

·     Decrease self-destructive behaviours

·     Enhance ability to get through crises

·     Decrease inpatient hospitalizations 

DBT incorporates skills from four core modules to help individuals live a life worth living:

·     Mindfulness focuses on the here and now, thus providing individuals with the ability to accept and understand what they are feeling in the current moment.

·     Distress tolerance ultimately stems from mindfulness, where individuals develop the ability to recognize and accept negative emotions and situations rather than letting these negative events overwhelm and overpower them. When a situation seems too big to be managed by another skill set, distress tolerance skills keep us safe by reducing impulsivity and teaching crisis survival skills.

·     Emotion regulation consists of providing strategies to individuals who can easily and intensely feel frustrated or depressed when it comes to distressing situations. Reducing emotional intensity helps individuals to tolerate and manage emotions without being overwhelmed by them.

·     Interpersonal effectiveness is an important part of DBT as relationships can be hard to navigate. Interpersonal effectiveness skills keep relationships stable and help individuals get what they need from others while maintaining self-respect during difficult interactions.

We offer DBT services to suit the needs of all of our clients:


 Our comprehensive DBT for Adults/Young Adults program consists of skills training in a group setting as well as individual sessions. With this population, DBT has been effective with:

• Depression, anxiety and rapid mood changes

• High-risk behaviours such as self-harm

• Eating disorders and drug and/or alcohol addiction

• Isolation, avoidance or procrastination

• Ineffective expression of anger

• Problems with relationships



This comprehensive program provides concurrent group skills training for teens and their parents, as well as individual sessions for the adolescent. With adolescents, common behaviours treated include:

•  Defiant actions and refusals

•  Depression, anxiety and agitation

•  Relationship and communication problems

•  Mood swings that are slow to return to “normal”

•  Anger problems

•  High-risk behaviours such as aggression, running away, eating disorders, self-harm, suicidal thoughts and actions, drug and alcohol abuse


Our DBT-C program provides skills training in a closed family or multi-family setting in addition to individual sessions and parent training. Family therapy is also available. Within our families, common behaviours treated include:

• Tantrums and anger

• Task and/or homework completion

• School problems

• Difficulties in peer relationships

• Defiant actions and refusals

• Depression, anxiety and agitation

• Boredom

• Impulse control issues

• Difficulty tolerating “no”

• Transitioning between activities/tasks


**We are happy to offer group services to individuals followed by independent therapists.