Behavioral Health

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

908-994-7378 (Adolescent DBT)
908-994-7087 (Adult DBT)

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a therapeutic approach developed to treat individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder as well as other individuals with chronic mood and behavioral problems. Individuals with BPD often have extreme shifts in their emotional states and behavioral instability. Through a supportive and validating therapeutic environment behavioral skills are developed to improve impulse control, emotional regulation, interpersonal effectiveness and overall functioning. The goal of DBT treatment is to replace old, harmful ways of thinking, feeling and behaving with new, healthier ones.

Goals of DBT
> To decrease behaviors that interfere with treatment (i.e. lack of compliance, passivity)
> To decrease suicidal, parasuicidal and other self-destructive behaviors such as substance abuse, bingeing/purging etc.)
> Increase ability to regulate emotions and behavior.
> To teach the ability to “think down the middle,” or to see both sides of an issue.

The Trinitas DBT Based treatment program consists of the following components: Individual Therapy, DBT Skills Group, and Medication Monitoring.

Individual Therapy
Clients are assigned a member of the DBT team as their primary therapist. They initially are required to meet with their therapist at least once a week for psychotherapy. Individual sessions are designed to validate the experience of the client while guiding clients towards changing and improving their lives. Clients are asked to monitor positive emotions and behaviors as well as painful emotions and self-destructive behaviors. Client and therapist work together to identify problem behaviors, generate solution strategies, apply skills learned in group and improve decision making skills.

Skills Training Group
DBT Skills Group is a two-hour group which takes place once a week. It is designed to teach participants the skills of mindfulness, emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness and distress tolerance. Participants practice new skills throughout the week and are given homework assignments to apply what they have learned. Sessions begin with a mindfulness exercise, followed by group members reporting on their experiences with the homework. New material is presented and a related homework assignment is given for the next week. Through teaching, discussion, homework practice and review, group members learn skills to begin to effectively problem solve and reclaim their life.

Medication Monitoring
Patients are assigned to a physician or nurse practitioner who will prescribe and monitor medications.

DBT Skills
The ability to observe and experience the present moment without judgment. Using "mindfulness," individuals learn to notice their emotions and to endure them, without always acting upon them.

Emotion Regulation
Individuals are taught about the physiological, psychological and environmental factors that contribute to emotions. The goal is to enable one to learn how to increase positive emotions and decrease negative ones, thereby enhancing one's sense of emotional balance.

Interpersonal Effectiveness
Assertiveness and communications skills are emphasized with the aim of promoting effective social interaction.

Distress Tolerance
Individuals learn short-term strategies designed to help them cope with and distract themselves during moments of overwhelming distress.

Frequently-Asked Questions
-- Do you have frequent and intense shifts in mood?
-- Do you ever dissociate or fear that others are purposely out to harm you?
-- Do you have frequent problems managing anger?
-- Do you have a pattern of chaotic relationships?
-- Do you have persistent thoughts that you would be better off dead?
-- Do you have a history of multiple suicide attempts?
-- Do you engage in frequent impulsive or self-destructive behaviors (cutting, substance abuse, binges or purging)?
-- Do you at times have intense feelings of emptiness?
-- Has treatment never seemed to work for you?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, our treatment program could be of help.

For more information, please contact Essie Larson, Ph.D. at 908-994-7287.

Location Adult: Plaza Building, 654 E. Jersey St., Elizabeth, NJ 07206
Location Adolescent: New Point Campus, 655 E. Jersey St., Elizabeth, NJ 07206