Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

It seems like you, or your child is always in crisis.

You, or your child, swings between high highs and low lows.

Sometimes, the coping strategies you’ve been taught make things worse in the long run.

You’re feeling hopeless and overwhelmed by emotions.

Regular therapy just isn’t working for you.

Dialectical behavior therapy, or DBT, is a perfect treatment for people who are:

  1. more sensitive to emotions
  2. more reactive to emotions
  3. have a slower return to baseline

If any of these things sound familiar for you or your loved one then DBT is probably the answer!


Who Does Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Work For?

DBT is an evidence-based treatment model originally created to treat Borderline Personality Disorder. Now, research shows DBT is effective for a wide range of other mental health concerns and symptoms that are rooted in emotional dysregulation.

DBT can help the following clients and mental health concerns:

  • Adolescents and adults
  • Individuals with substance use disorders
  • Teens who refuse to go to or participate in school or have other chronic avoidance issues
  • Young adults experiencing failure to launch
  • Individuals experiencing symptom swapping (one thing goes away, another thing comes up)
  • Behavioral concerns
  • Self-harm behaviors and suicidal ideation
  • Difficult-to-treat anxiety and depression
  • Persistent relationship struggles
  • Eating disorders

What does Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Mean?

DIALECTICAL means the ability to hold two opposites as true. In DBT we often talk about finding common ground between opposing concepts. Common opposites we discuss in DBT are:

  • Emotions vs Logic
  • Change Vs Acceptance
  • Empathy vs Accountability

BEHAVIOR means changing what we DO. Similar to CBT*, we know that emotions, thoughts, and behaviors all impact each other. But the easiest thing to change is our behavior.

CBT emotions behaviors and thoughts triangle. You can get DBT treatment in Rockville, MD to help with trauma and more.

TRY THIS: Compare how long it takes to snap your fingers vs how long it takes to THINK about what you wore yesterday. Then, THINK about how long it takes you to snap vs how long it takes to actually FEEL the anger from being cut-off in traffic. The snap (behavior) happens is the quickest, right?!

So, when you use new behaviors to get through difficult thoughts or emotions, we can experience change. You can start to feel better quicker AND stop the maladaptive coping habits that get in the way of our goals!

* The difference between CBT and DBT is that DBT focuses more on relationshipsRelationships trigger the most intense emotions. AND, relationships are also typically most impacted by displays of intense emotion!


The MCCC Way of Dialectical Behavior Therapy in Rockville, MD

Comprehensive DBT treatment combines skills training groups and individual therapy. At MCCC we do not currently offer DBT skills training groups. So, we are not considered a Comprehensive DBT Program. Actually, what our approach to DBT is much more flexible! First, we’ll start with an assessment and then move into treatment if you are a good fit for DBT at MCCC!

Chart to explain DBT, or dialectical behavioral therapy, in Rockville, MD. This four-square grid helps with dbt assessment of level of care and how appropriate is DBT for you.

During the intake assessment, we talk about what is going on. We will look at things like how severe the safety risk is (ie: suicidal ideation, self-harm, excessive substance use, etc) and how motivated you or your child is to change. The higher the willingness to change and the lower the safety risks, the better fit you are for outpatient work MCCC! No matter what, we will coordinate with you and your family to recommend the most helpful course of treatment. If MCCC is a “maybe”, we may recommend a concurrent parent or family therapy. If outpatient therapy at MCCC is not enough support, we will recommend a higher level of care. This might be a comprehensive DBT program, an intensive outpatient program, a full-day treatment program, or a residential treatment program.

What Happens During DBT at MCCC

Once therapy begins, we weave DBT skills training into individual sessions. Depending on your needs, we may structure sessions to be half skills and half therapy. Or, we may even have two appointments per week, one for skills and one for therapy. Clients learn skills within the DBT core curriculum of five modules.

Dbt skills Modules that include acceptance and change with mindfulness, emotional regulation, distress tolerance and interpersonal effectiveness. DBT can help with family therapy in rockville, md too

  1. Mindfulness
  2. Distress Tolerance
  3. Emotion Regulation
  4. Interpersonal Effectiveness
  5. Walking The Middle Path

In DBT individual therapy, we track emotions and behaviors in order to identify patterns and correlations. We will identify the chain of events between emotions thoughts and actions. Then, we help you apply the new skills to the chain, so you can reduce the unwanted emotions or behaviors and help you meet your goals! We use the DBT Hierarchy of Targets to guide our thinking throughout each session and the overall process of therapy.

DBT Hierarchy Of treatment Targets with life threatening behaviors at the top, treatment interfering behaviors in the middle and quality of life interfering behaviors at the bottom. Through Dialectical behavioral therapy in Rockville, MD you can get the counseling and healing you need. You can also get help with family therapy in rockville, md

What MCCC Clients Have Said About DBT in Rockville, MD

What I’ve most benefited from is learning to be where I am (wherever that is and under any circumstances) with less suffering. The DBT and mindfulness training has helped me learn to step back, think, listen and chill, rather than just reacting- rather than jumping in to fix everything even though it usually isn’t really fixing anything.

I have most liked being held accountable for my actions and behavior, and the non-judgmental space created to explore both surface-level and deeper emotional, familial, and personal issues and concerns.
I’ve benefited most from learning DBT skills and working through the modules of DBT. I’ve found more success with DBT therapy than I have in any other type of therapy, and I enjoy working through the curriculum, which is almost like a course or a class. It is easily digestible and provides a space to explore a multitude of issues. 

Begin Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) in Rockville, MD:

If you or your child are struggling with emotional dysregulation, we would love to chat with you to determine if DBT at MCCC would be a good fit. Our therapists are passionate about helping our clients overcome their obstacles and learn positive behaviors to feel better and improve their lives. 

To get started with counseling in Rockville, MD, follow these steps:

  1. Contact our DC area counseling clinic to make an appointment
  2. Meet with a DBT therapist
  3. Begin DBT and work on skills to best manage extreme emotions. 

Other Services Offered at Montgomery Counseling Center in Rockville, MD

DBT sounds great, but it isn’t quite what you want…

DBT is a mindset and a way of life. If it’s not for you, don’t worry. We weave these themes into all of our therapy services in Rockville, MD which is near Washington DC. Your treatment approach doesn’t have to be 100% DBT. In fact, you can still benefit from the wide variety of mental health services our therapists offer. Our services include parent coachingfamily therapy, teen therapy, child therapy, and couples counseling. We also offer an online parenting class for parents of struggling teens or young adults. Due to COVID-19, we are offering an online support group for college students, and an Aspiring to Allyship in Anti-Racism group. Also, some of our clinicians provide supervision opportunities for mental health professionals seeking their professional license. Reach out to our therapy clinic to learn more about the many ways we can help you or your family heal and thrive.


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