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Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Understanding Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) has earned its place as a foundational therapy at Silver Hill because of its proven effectiveness here over many years, and in many stringent research trials.

DBT is a type of Cognitive Behavior Therapy developed by renowned psychologist, Marsha Linehan in the 1980’s. Although originally developed to treat chronically suicidal individuals with borderline personality disorder, research has shown DBT is also effective for a variety of other mental health disorders .

We use DBT to effectively treat:


Our dialectical behavior therapy transitional and outpatient treatment programs provide you with the skills necessary to regulate emotions, control self-destructive behaviors and improve interpersonal relations. It helps you find a balance between acceptance and change.

Some people experience difficult situations in life and move forward with life despite the hardships. Others experience similar situations and feel intense negative emotions and don’t fully accept their reality. DBT helps you accept distress in life, by giving you the tools to make positive behavioral changes and feel at peace with them.

Core Modules

The five core modules of DBT are:

Mindfulness – the practice of living in the present moment and being fully aware of the situation at hand. It is the foundation of DBT. This skill teaches you to observe your thoughts and feelings, while realizing you have a choice in how to respond.

Emotion Regulation – learning how to more effectively control your emotions and become less reactive to people and situations. This skill focuses on how to recognize and label your feelings, and then how to let them go so the emotion doesn’t take control and interfere with your rational thought process.

Interpersonal Effectiveness – teaches you how to maintain relationships, while meeting personal needs and preserving self-respect. It helps you approach a situation objectively rather than emotionally.

Distress Tolerance – an “acceptance strategy” to help you find healthy ways to tolerate intense emotions without trying to change them or engage in problematic behaviors.

The Middle Path – is all about balancing acceptance and change. It emphasizes that things aren’t always black and white or right and wrong. This skill helps you more effectively manage extreme patterns of thought and behavior to achieve greater balance in life.

DBT for People with Substance Use Disorders (DBT- S)

DBT-S is an evidence-based extension of Dialectical Behavior Therapy. It is offered to patients in Silver Hill Hospital Transitional Living Programs who are challenged with both substance use and co-occurring psychiatric disorders.

DBT-S employs customized coping skills to help people learn to achieve and maintain sobriety. It is integrated seamlessly into core DBT treatment programs for men and women by our comprehensively trained social workers and residential counselors.

DBT-S patients learn how to manage their emotions and urges more effectively, improve communication skills, and learn and practice the tools necessary to build emotionally healthy and sober lives.

DBT Works at Silver Hill

We offer one of the very few transitional living DBT programs in the country. It’s a great opportunity for you to “live” the practical DBT and DBT-S skills and coping strategies you are learning, by interacting with DBT-trained staff and other patients in a highly structured therapeutic environment.

You will participate in DBT skills and therapy groups in our Transitional Living Program. They will teach you how to control emotions, impulsivity, self-damaging behaviors, and interpersonal disorganization. Our specialized, DBT-trained team staff includes psychiatrists, social workers, nurses and counselors.

In addition to the transitional living program, Silver Hill offers a number of Intensive Outpatient Programs for DBT including: Adult, Young Adult (18-21), and Adolescent (13-17) Skills Groups plus DBT for Substance Use Disorders and Women’s DBT & Safe Relationships.

Let’s get started.

Allow us to help you get better. Contact us today to find out which program might be right for you, or to begin the process of arranging for treatment.

Call us at
1 (866) 542 4455

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