Your success matters.

We will use proven therapeutic techniques to make progress at a pace that feels comfortable and sustainable for you.  

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy


What exactly is DBT?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a unique therapy model that emphasizes learning very specific skills to help you use new strategies in developing the life you want to be living. Close attention is also paid to your behaviors and monitoring what is working and not working in your life on a daily basis.  

DBT has been extensively researched since its creation in the late 1980’s by Marsha Linehan, PhD, ABPP. These studies have shown that DBT is highly effective in treating a wide range of issues such as depression, anxiety, mood disorders, emotional management difficulties, substance misuse/abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and eating disorders, among others. 


DBT was originally developed to treat chronically suicidal individuals and those diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), and it is now recognized as the gold standard psychological treatment for this population.

What are the DBT skills?  

Mindfulness Skills

Mindfulness is about learning to control where you place your attention. One goal with mindfulness is to focus on the present, rather than dwelling on past pain or worrying about future problems (this just makes the present even harder!). As a regular practice, mindfulness increases your ability to focus your attention...when you want to, the way you want to. Mindfulness skills will teach you to notice your thoughts and emotions and then control and regulate your thoughts and emotions. Mindfulness improves your ability to be more “present” in your daily life so that you can notice and change the things you need in order to make it the life you want to be living.

Emotional Regulation Skills

These skills are all about understanding, managing, and responding effectively to your emotions. Emotion regulation skills will enable you to recognize and validate your own emotions as an important part of the human experience. You will learn how your emotions bring you valuable information about your own needs and the needs in situations and relationships. The skills will offer you strategies to have less extreme mood swings and feel more in control of your emotions on a daily basis, by learning how to change and regulate your feelings.

Distress Tolerance Skills

Distress Tolerance skills will help you to endure bad, painful, and difficult situations (which are inevitable in life!) without making them worse. It's a set of strategies to help you tolerate very upsetting things long enough to survive them instead of turning to unhealthy behaviors or vices. The Distress Tolerance skills offer you actionable steps to notice your extreme reactions in upsetting situations and learn how to make effective choices when under duress. You'll learn how to have an intense emotional reaction to difficulty without losing sight of your goals. 

Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills

These are the relationship skills and they are all about getting along with others in the ways you need to. You will learn to effectively manage relationships, keep or improve your assertiveness & self-respect, and get what you need in relationships and communication. Interpersonal Effectiveness skills include how to negotiate relationships with others by asking for what you want and need, or by saying no to requests. There are also specific strategies for creating new healthy relationships and ending destructive ones.


What will DBT do for me?


DBT can help you feel more able to control your thoughts, emotions, and reactions (behaviors).


The DBT strategies enable you to understand yourself (and others) much more deeply. Your behaviors will start to make sense and you will feel more equipped to make the changes you want. 

DBT can also greatly enhance your ability to communicate and interact with others in ways that work in both the short and long term.

Most participants in DBT find that by using the skills, they are calmer and are more able to manage life's stressors without feeling overwhelmed, breaking down, or over-reacting.

Set up a free consultation to discuss what we can achieve for you with DBT via online counseling!

(919) 744-8335

all areas of North Carolina, United States​

© 2017-2020 Heather M. McKenzie, LCMHCS PLLC