You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather.
— Pema Chodron

Frequently Asked Questions

What questions should I ask to know if a therapist does comprehensive DBT?

  • Have you and/or your program been certified by the DBT-Linehan Board of Certification?

  • Have you completed an Advanced Intensive or Foundational Training sponsored by Behavioral Tech?

  • Are you a member of DBT consultation team? Can you tell me who is part of your team? Are group leaders part of the consultation team?

  • Have you been supervised by an expert DBT therapist?

  • Do you teach skills, practice behavior analysis, and review diary cards?

  • Do you do phone coaching?

  • Do you have both individual therapy and skills group components?


What does the skills group consist of?

The skills group is better considered a skills class. The room is set-up like a classroom with books and other necessary materials. It is not a process group. Specific problem behaviors are not discussed in skills group.

CAUTION: DBT is not just skills training. A program or person who says that they do DBT but only offers skills groups without individual therapy (or individual therapy without skills group) and is not part of a team is not doing empirically supported treatment.


I am uncomfortable in group settings, can I just do individual DBT work?


No. Research on the components of DBT shows that individual work without skills training does not result in the same effectiveness outcomes. Skills group and individual training are equally valuable components of treatment leading to the best outcomes.


I am concerned my child will pick up ideas for self-injury or other problem behaviors in group. How does DBT handle discussion of problem coping behaviors?

During the orientation to DBT, each participant is oriented to expectations for group. We introduce the term “problem behavior” to cover a wide array of ineffective coping behaviors. Groups are monitored by a leader and a co-leader and any discussions that are inappropriate for group are immediately addressed.


DBT is a specific form of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). DBT builds upon the foundations of CBT to enhance effectiveness with individuals who experience emotional stimuli more strongly than the average population and have higher arousal levels. The skills taught in DBT help individuals learn how to manage their emotional experience in more effective ways. DBT is the treatment of choice for difficulties with emotion regulation, self-injury, chronic suicidality, and repeat hospitalizations or treatment failures.

How does DBT differ from CBT and other treatments?


What resources do you have available for parents?

Parents work with individual therapists to come up with a plan that works best for you and your child. As part of treatment, we often include family sessions and parents sessions. We also run a DBT Parent Training Class that provides a framework for parents to understand how best to support their child while they are in our DBT program.


All patients are required to participate in individual therapy with a therapist at Chicago DBT Institute™. We do not allow co-occurring treatment with a therapist outside of Chicago DBT Institute™ to increase treatment consistency and provide the best possible care.

Can I keep working with my current therapist while in the DBT Program?


How long does treatment typically last?

All individuals are required to participate both in individual and skill group components. The minimum commitment for the DBT program at Chicago DBT™ is 24-weeks to complete all 4 skills modules.


No! If continuing to work with your individual therapist on treatment goals makes sense, you are welcome to continue working together.

Do I have to find a new therapist after I complete the 24 week skills training program?


DBT’s conceptual model is based in Biosocial Theory. DBT believes that ineffective behaviors are often a result of a biological predisposition to more frequent and intense emotions plus impulsivity coupled with an environment that failed to provide skills for managing intense emotional response. DBT focuses on providing specific tools to manage those more intense emotions.

According to DBT, where do dysfunctional behaviors originate?


Do you accept insurance?

No insurance is accepted. We provide a billing statement with all necessary coding. It is the patient’s responsibility to verify reimbursement policies with insurance. Many patients receive some form of insurance reimbursement for services at Chicago DBT Institute™.

It all begins and ends in your mind. What you give power to has power over you.
— Dan Harris