Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is an evidenced-based and structured therapy approach that teaches patients coping skills to replace negative thoughts and self-destructive behaviors. These skills include mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and acceptance of reality.
DBT combines individual therapy with skills training groups to address emotional dysregulation, relationship difficulties, self-harm, and suicidal ideation. In DBT online therapy, a trained therapist works with patients to create personalized treatment plans tailored to their specific needs. DBT skills groups meet weekly to help patients cope more effectively with intense emotions, addictive or risky behaviors, and relationship struggles.
Patients also receive skills training and coaching calls to support their skill-building efforts in real-life situations. Overall, DBT aims to promote adaptive coping strategies and improve distress tolerance, emotion regulation, mindfulness, and interpersonal effectiveness.
DBT skills are taught to reduce self-destructive behaviors and learn more adaptive ways to manage painful emotions.
DBT is beneficial for individuals who are ready, willing, and committed to join both weekly individual and group therapy. This is a two-part treatment approach that requires groups to learn skills with support from peers. DBT is often used to treat individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), but it has also been shown to be effective for individuals with other mental health conditions, including:
- Anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder
- Mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder
- Substance use disorders, such as addiction to drugs or alcohol
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Self-harm and suicidal ideation
In addition, DBT can be helpful for individuals who struggle with intense emotional experiences, have difficulty regulating their emotions, act impulsively, and have communication problems in interpersonal relationships. It can also be useful for individuals who engage in behaviors that are significantly impacting functioning:
- Self-injurious behavior (cutting, burning, hitting)
- History of suicide attempts
- Risky behaviors
- Interpersonal conflict and difficulty with relationships
- Lack of effective coping skills
- History of Baker Acts for suicidal ideation or attempts
- Impulsive/risky behaviors (overspending, gambling, sex, “adrenaline junkie”)
Ultimately, anyone who is experiencing significant emotional issues, relationship difficulties, and other symptoms of mental health conditions may benefit from DBT.
This program is currently only available to patients in Florida.
Brave Health’s all-in-one telehealth DBT program for adults lasts 16 weeks and includes one weekly 1-hour individual therapy session and one weekly 2-hour DBT skills group session. The program for teens lasts 32 weeks and includes one weekly 1-hour individual therapy session and one weekly 1-hour DBT skills group session.
The program includes:
Individual Therapy: During the weekly individual therapy session, the therapist will use DBT techniques to help the client manage their emotions and work through any challenges.
DBT Skills Group: A group session that includes skill-building exercises that help individuals manage emotions, improve interpersonal communication, and build distress tolerance.
Coaching: Coaching in between sessions is to identify skills that can be used in the moment before a crisis escalates.
Diary Cards: Weekly diary cards are used to help the patient and therapist monitor symptoms and progress.
Homework: The DBT therapist will provide assignments for the patient to complete in-between sessions, such as journaling exercises or practicing a new skill.
Studies have found that telehealth DBT therapy can be just as effective as in-person DBT therapy in treating a range of mental health conditions, including Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders.
One study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology found that telehealth DBT therapy was just as effective as in-person DBT therapy for individuals with BPD, with both groups showing significant reductions in suicidal and self-injurious behavior over the course of the treatment.
Another study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that telehealth DBT therapy was effective in reducing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress in a sample of college students.
Yes, both Medicare and Medicaid insurance generally cover telehealth DBT therapy, although coverage may vary based on the specific plan and state. Medicare has expanded its coverage for telehealth services, including DBT therapy, while Medicaid covers telehealth services, including DBT therapy, in many states.
However, coverage may vary based on the state and the specific Medicaid plan, and it is important to check with your specific plan to determine what the coverage entails and whether any additional requirements need to be met.
Brave Health offers an all-in-one 16-week and 32-week DBT program for adults and teens. The program includes one weekly individual therapy session and one weekly DBT skills group session.
After completing an initial mental health assessment of the patient’s health and well-being, patients will see a non-DBT therapist for a minimum of four sessions in order to prepare you for DBT work. This step is important to ensure that individuals will benefit from the group dynamics and be willing to participate in all aspects of the program. After these sessions, a DBT therapist will meet with the patient to determine if DBT will be a good fit.