An overview of dialectical behavior therapy for professional psychologists

Shireen L. Rizvi, Lauren M. Steffel, Amanda Carson-Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a comprehensive psychosocial treatment originally designed for individuals meeting criteria for borderline personality disorder (BPD). The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the principles and techniques of DBT for BPD, summarize current research, and discuss the implications for psychologists who wish to implement DBT. The four modes in DBT (individual therapy, skills training, as-needed consultation between sessions, and therapist consultation meetings) are reviewed. The three overarching theories that guide and help organize DBT treatment (biosocial theory, behavioral theory, and dialectical philosophy) are also summarized. DBT has been the subject of much research and has been adapted for different settings, disorders, and populations, including substance abuse and BPD, eating disorders, treatment-resistant depression, ADHD, and forensic settings. This research is critically reviewed. Finally, we examine the implications and applications for practicing psychologists who seek training in DBT and work in independent practice

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-80
Number of pages8
JournalProfessional Psychology: Research and Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 7 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)


  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy
  • Emotion dysregulation
  • Evidence-based treatment

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