DBT Difference
An Evidence-Based Treatment

DBT is an acronym for Dialectical Behavior Therapy, a skills-building therapeutic approach developed by Marsha Linehan, PhD. and extensively supported by efficacy studies to be effective for treating a variety of disorders and problems. Clarify Counseling is a  Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) practice for teens and adults based in Greenville, South Carolina.

DBT Critical Functions

Our DBT therapists focus  on problem-solving, skills acquisition, and acceptance and change-based strategies. The five critical functions of effective therapy are considered to be:

  1. Developing & maintaining clients’ motivation to change
  2. Enhancing clients’ capabilities
  3. Generalization of skills use in all relevant environments
  4. Structuring of the therapeutic environment & program to emphasize reinforcement of adaptive behaviors
  5. Maintaining the therapist’s motivation and capability to provide effective treatment

DBT therapy emphasizes balancing behavioral change, problem-solving, and emotional regulation with validation, mindfulness, and acceptance of the client.  Dialectical Behavior Therapists follow a detailed procedural manual.

DBT Components

Unlike traditional therapeutic approaches, standard or comprehensive DBT includes four researched and efficacy-proven components:

1.  Weekly individual therapy to address specific, customized goals for each client

2.  Weekly skills classes for learning effective coping strategies to replace ineffective behaviors such as:

  • Suicidal actions or thoughts
  • Non-Suicidal Self-Injury (NSSI) including cutting, burning, head-banging, punching things that result in self-harm, overtaking medications, etc.
  • Quality-of-Life-Interfering (QOL) Behaviors – The variety of QOL issues is extensive and customized based on each client’s goals. Some examples include problematic substance abuse, restricting food, binging or purging, losing temper and yelling or otherwise damaging important relationships, breaking things, shoplifting, sexual promiscuity that is problematic/dangerous, sleeping all day, isolating, etc.

3.  Coaching calls with a DBT Therapist as needed and initiated by the client to help use skills and not  use ineffective coping strategies such as those listed above.  Coaching is a part of the DBT program and there is no additional charge for these calls.  Calling helps clients achieve their goals faster by getting the skills out of the classroom and into clients’ lives.

4. Consultation Team – Marsha Linehan found that Dialectical Behavior therapists need support to do what is needed to help clients achieve change.  A consultation team is a required component of comprehensive DBT and is crucial to helping clients be successful in Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Clarify Counseling DBT participates in the Greenville DBT Collective, a community of Dialectical Behavior Therapists who meet weekly to consult and support each other.

DBT Participation

Participation in DBT is a bigger commitment than many traditional therapeutic approaches.  Though the setting feels familiar, the DBT approach can be somewhat surprising.

The decision to enter Dialectical Behavior Therapy is not just the client’s choice.  Prior to admittance into Clarify’s DBT program, two DBT therapists meet with the potential client (and caregivers of teens) to swap information.  Clients share their history and the therapists share information about the programs.  No decision is made at the the time of this first meeting.  Instead, the therapists bring the client’s information back to the weekly team meeting and the team determines whether they think DBT can be helpful for this client at this time.  Meanwhile, the client needs to decide whether they can commit to full participation in a DBT program at this time.