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Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

About our DBT Program

We offer a variety of programs in Virginia, both in-person and through telehealth, that are based on the age of the patient:

  • DBT-C for Children ages 8-12
  • Multi-Family DBT for adolescents ages 13-17 with a history of emotional instability, intense, unstable relationships, and impulses
  • DBT for Young Adults ages 18-24
  • Standard DBT for adults

What is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy?

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based psychotherapy and type of cognitive-behavioral therapy originally developed by Marsha Linehan, Ph.D. to treat individuals with borderline personality disorder, self-harming behaviors, and suicidal behaviors. Since its development in the late 1980s, DBT has been adapted to other populations, including adolescents and families, individuals with substance use disorders, mood disorders such as bipolar, and most recently with children. Research is currently being conducted to provide services based on DBT skills to elementary age kids and their parents with emotional dysregulation as a form of early intervention.

The overall goal of DBT is to build a life worth living. Our DBT therapists work as a team with clients to reach the established goals and targets in treatment through offering adherent treatment as the research intended.

Research has shown that DBT is effective in reducing suicidal behavior, non-suicidal self-injury (NSIB), psychiatric hospitalizations, treatment drop-outs, anger, and improving social and global functioning. Current research can be found at

An adherent DBT treatment program consists of weekly structured individual therapy sessions, group skills training, skills coaching, and a consultation team.

The Four Components of Treatment

Traditionally, DBT skills group contains the following skills modules:


Mindfulness: The practice of being fully aware and present in the current moment. This is a strong foundation for DBT treatment, as mindfulness skills are an essential component of all the other skills taught.

Emotion Regulation

What are the functions of emotions? This module focuses on the function of emotion, learning to understand and name emotions, decrease unwanted emotions, decrease vulnerability to emotions, and decrease emotional suffering. In other words, regulate (change) emotions if you want to.

Walking the Middle Path (adolescent group only)

This module is focused on avoiding parent/teen extremes, learning how to validate (understand) others, and how to increase behaviors you want while decreasing behaviors you don’t want.

Interpersonal Effectiveness

This module focuses on having effective relationships, including building healthy relationships, maintaining self-respect, and being effective in asking for what you want while also saying “no” effectively.

Distress Tolerance

These skills are focused on crisis survival: how to cope with painful emotions and experiences without making them worse. In a crisis, it is difficult not to act impulsively: these skills are to help in those times.

Adaptations for DBT

DBT - Multi Family for Adolescents:

This program includes all the components of the primary adult module with enhancements to address the relationship between the parent and child as well as the need of the parent to access coaching.

Read more about our Multi-Family for Adolescents Program

DBT - Children:

The Dialectical Behavioral Therapy for pre-adolescent children (DBT-C) program is an intervention developed to treat children with severe emotional and behavioral dysregulation.

Read more about our DBT-C Program

Take the Next Step

At Beach Therapy & Consulting, our therapists are trained to assess your treatment needs and create your own individualized treatment plan to expedite your healing from whatever mental health issue is giving you difficulty.

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Make Tomorrow Better, Today

If you or a loved one is in need of our services, please reach out to us today.

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