News & Events

News & Events

What is dialectical behavior therapy?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based, cognitive-behavioral approach that emphasizes the psychosocial aspects of treatment. It was developed in the late 1980’s by psychologist Marsha M. Linehan to help better treat borderline personality disorder.

Since its development, DBT has also been used to successfully treat other mental health issues including addiction issues. The theory behind the approach is that some people are prone to react in a more intense & out-of-the-ordinary manner toward certain emotional situations, primarily those found in romantic, family, & friend relationships.

DBT theory suggests that some peoples’ arousal levels can increase far more quickly than the average person’s, that they attain a higher level of emotional stimulation, & that it takes a significantly greater amount of time to return to baseline arousal levels. Because few people understand such reactions, these individuals rarely have successful methods for coping with these sudden, intense surges of emotion.

DBT is a collaborative approach. It requires constant attention to relationships between client & staff. In DBT, people are encouraged to work out problems within their relationships, & it asks people to complete homework assignments, to roleplay new ways of interacting with others, & to practice skills.

CenterPointe has already worked with Josh Smith, LCSW (DBT Institute of Michigan), to implement DBT in our Lincoln residential treatment programs. During CARF accreditation, CenterPointe was rated very high in fidelity to the DBT model. Clients routinely share that this pivotal treatment practice is instrumental in turning their lives around.

With funding from Kim Foundation, CenterPointe can bring Josh Smith onsite to train the whole Campus for Hope team on DBT principles. Following initial training, both programs will complete comprehensive plans for implementation & identify core staff members. Mr. Smith will return to provide intensive five-day training to core staff.