Why should I refer a client to DBT Skills Training?

Therapists not trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy are often unaware of the specific benefits a client can receive from DBT Skills Training. Dialectical Behavior Therapy as a modality is unique in its systematic approach to helping individuals with emotion regulation problems, particularly, but not exclusively, those individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).
Dialectical Behavior Therapy views extreme thinking, behavior and emotions as the result of both motivation problems and capability deficits. DBT is unique because it includes both individual psychotherapy to address motivation issues (the motivation to stay alive and replace dysfunctional behaviors with more skillful ones) and skills training to develop competency in the skills necessary to make that happen in real life. It is this translation from motivation to action that is crucial to therapeutic success. DBT as a mechanism for such success has been rigorously researched in clinical settings.

While skills training can be offered individually, it is most powerful and effective in group settings. Either way, it is a necessary component of treatment for individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder and other serious emotion regulation difficulties. Clients attend weekly skills training groups for up to a year or more, while remaining in individual psychotherapy. Skills training includes a system of diary records, homework, and group accountability, and is led by a therapist specifically trained to teach DBT skills.

If I refer my client to The PRISM Center, how do I know I won't lose my client permanently?

There are several ways we work with clients at The PRISM Center:

  • If you believe your client would benefit from DBT Skills Training and you choose to remain that client's individual therapist, our skills trainer will work collaboratively with you so that treatment goals can be met. We are here to support you, too!
  • If a client who is not in individual therapy is referred to us for DBT, she/he would be referred to one of our network therapists who is DBT trained.


  • Decrease high-risk suicidal and self-harming behaviors
  • Decrease therapy interfering behaviors by either therapist or patient
  • Decrease quality-of-life interfering behaviors
  • Learn and master behavioral skills for mood-independent life choices
  • Decrease symptoms related to post-traumatic stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Enhance and sustain self-respect
  • Attain goals to create "a life worth living"


  • Core Mindfulness - being present and non-judgmentally aware in the moment
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness - relating skillfully with others
  • Emotion Regulation - learning to skillfully use or change emotions
  • Distress Tolerance - managing difficult feelings without acting impulsively
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy - learning to identify and replace unhealthy thinking patterns with more adaptive thinking