Create a Life Worth Living

What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy or DBT is an evidence-based form of cognitive-behavioral therapy created by Dr. Marsha Linehan for individuals who have significant difficulty regulating their intense emotions. Research shows that DBT reduces inpatient hospitalizations, suicidal behavior and the incidence and severity of self-harming behavior. Initially developed to treat suicidal and self-harming individuals who were exhibiting symptoms of borderline personality disorder, DBT has now expanded as an effective treatment for many other disorders.

DBT combines mindfulness and acceptance-based strategies with change-oriented strategies to help individuals who have intense, difficult to manage emotions learn new ways to manage their feelings without engaging in impulsive or self-damaging behaviors. The goal of DBT is to help our clients create a life worth living by first reducing their suffering and ultimately assisting them in creating the life they envision for themselves.   Evidence-based DBT has four components (see Our Programs for more details):


  1. Individual therapy – Working closely with your therapist, you’ll learn to manage emotions and develop new coping skills
  2. Skills training group – In group, clients practice mindfulness and also learn a new skill that they are asked to practice over the course of the week.
  3. Phone coaching – Clients are encouraged to contact their therapist between sessions for assistance in applying skills
  4. Consultation team for therapists – In accordance with the DBT model therapists meet weekly as a team to provide consultation and support to each other in treating their clients.


Coping skills that target common areas of dysregulation are taught.

Reaching Balance and a life worth living with Long Island DBT.

DBT Model

Common Areas of Dysregulation

DBT Skills

Emotional Dysregulation

  • * Emotional instability
  • * Problems with anger

Emotion Regulation Skills

Learn to identify and manage emotions effectively by reducing reactivity and building positive experiences into your life

Behavioral Dysregulation

  • * Impulsive behaviors
  • * Self-harming behaviors

Distress Tolerance Skills 

Learn skills to tolerate intense emotions without engaging in impulsive and/or destructive behaviors; avoid making difficult situations worse

Cognitive Dysregulation

  • * Black and white thinking
  • * Zoning out or dissociation

Middle Path Skills 

Balance extreme thinking by learning that there is more than one way to see a situation and/or solve a problem

Self Dysregulation

  • * Lacks a sense of self awareness
  • * Feelings of emptiness

Mindfulness Skills 

Observe thoughts and emotions in the present moment to build awareness and help promote effective decision making

Interpersonal Dysregulation

  • * Fear of rejection and abandonment
  • * Difficulty maintaining relationships

Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills 

Learn skills to communicate effectively, maintain relationships with others and preserve your self-respect

If you relate to this DBT model and want to build a life worth living, please see our LIDBT’s Programs Page or contact our intake line at (516) 627-6201 today to get started.