Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)


What is DBT?

3-C Family Services offers a comprehensive Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) program for adolescents, families, and adults. DBT was designed for individuals who have difficulty regulating their emotions and who turn to extreme coping mechanisms such as self-harm (cutting, burning), substance use, anger outbursts, or disordered eating to manage their emotions. These individuals also may struggle with suicidal thinking and may have made suicide attempts in the past. DBT helps participants learn more effective ways to cope with intense negative emotions. For more information on DBT, click here.

Program Components

Participants attend individual (50 minutes) and group therapy (90 minutes) sessions once weekly, usually on two different days. All participants must commit to a minimum of six months of therapy, which allows the group leaders to teach all the DBT skills one time. DBT groups are like classes, and participants are expected to listen, take notes, and participate in exercises and discussions. Each adolescent must have one caregiver present at each group session, as families are expected to learn DBT skills as well. Group sessions are designed to teach participants the skills they need, and individual therapy sessions are designed to help participants apply these skills in their day-to-day lives. Participants are also allowed to make “coaching calls” to their therapists in between sessions to get help with skills while they are at home or school. Consistent with the empirically supported treatment model, all DBT therapists at 3-C attend a weekly Consultation Team meeting.

Adolescents in the DBT program are required to attend individual therapy with a DBT therapist at 3-C. Adults are permitted to have outside therapists but are encouraged to see a provider who is well-trained in DBT.

What are the DBT Skills?

We teach the following skills in our DBT groups:

  1. Core Mindfulness skills, which help individuals control and regulate their attention and learn to be more “present” in their daily life.
  2. Interpersonal Effectiveness skills, which help individuals to negotiate relationships with others by asking for what they want and need or by saying no to requests in an effective manner.
  3. Emotion Regulation skills, which help individuals to recognize and validate their own emotions as well as teach them to have less extreme mood swings.
  4. Distress Tolerance skills, which help individuals tolerate stressful situations and make healthier choices when under duress.
  5. Middle Path skills (adolescent groups only), which help individuals to see both sides of a situation, think in less extreme ways, and validate themselves and others.

More Information

Clients who are interested in the program will meet with an individual DBT therapist first, who will review our Orientation and Commitment packet with you (and your family, if applicable). We strongly encourage you to ask all questions you have during your first appointment. If the information in the packet raises questions that you’d like answered before you schedule an appointment, please call the clinic and ask to speak with an available DBT therapist.

Current Offerings

We currently offer two groups for adolescents (high school age), one group for younger adolescents/pre-teens (middle school age), and one for adults (ages 18 and up). Class size is limited, and new members are allowed to join approximately once every 6 weeks if space allows.

DBT-Adolescent Class 1: Mondays, 5:15-6:45pm
Leader: Dr. Melanie McCabe

DBT-Adolescent Class 2: Thursdays, 5:15-6:45pm
Leaders: Dr. Rebecca Matthews

DBT Adult Class 1: Tuesdays, 5:15-6:45pm
Leaders: Dr. Melanie McCabe

DBT Middle School Class 1: Thursdays, 4:00-5:30pm
Leaders: Dr. Meagan Knowles and Dr. Miles Gilliom

Registration and More Information

If you are interested in our DBT classes and are not currently a client at 3-C, please contact the front desk at (919) 677-0101.

If you are interested in our DBT class and are a current client at 3-C, please notify your therapist.

If you are a provider who is considering making a referral, please contact the front desk at (919) 677-0101.

DBT Consultation Team

The following 3-C therapists have been intensively trained in DBT and provide individual DBT therapy at 3-C:

The following 3-C psychiatrists provide medication management for DBT participants and attend our weekly consultation team meetings:

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