Why DBT?

One of the treatment modalities utilized at Reasons and integrated into the overall clinical program is called Dialectical Behavior Therapy.

Many individuals recovering from an eating disorder discover that behaviors such as restricting, bingeing, and purging and other associated symptoms play a role in self-regulation. If this is true for you, you may fear that without the eating disorder you will feel “out of control,” or “unable to cope.” To this end, we provide evidence-based DBT psychosocial skills training in the areas of Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation, and Distress Tolerance.

DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) is a cognitive-behavioral treatment that has been demonstrated to be effective in helping individuals with severe emotional dysregulation.  Emotional dysregulation can be understood as high sensitivity to emotional stimuli, intense response to emotional stimuli, and a slow return to baseline. Emotional dysregulation is understood as the joint outcome of biological factors and the impact of an invalidating environment, examples of which include traumas, family culture, and Western culture as a whole. This may present itself in the form of eating disorder behaviors, self-injury, suicidal ideations and attempts, and feeling impulsive or out of control.

DBT is founded on the philosophy that all behavior happens within a larger context and stresses “the fundamental interrelatedness or wholeness of reality” (Linehan, 1993). With this in mind, part of the DBT skills training program utilized at Reasons is a focus on developing understanding around the meaning and purpose of behaviors that may feel shameful or confusing. It also serves to help patients understand that two opposite ideas can be true at once. For example, even if you are struggling, it does not mean you are an absolute failure in life…you may have a bad day, but can still be working hard on your recovery.

We hope to help you find compassion for yourself as you are while learning new skills that assist you in effectively navigating the complexities of life and support you in cultivating wisdom, self-acceptance, self-
knowledge, and courage.

Strong research indicates that DBT is an effective intervention for many target outcomes, including symptoms of eating disorders, drug use, suicide attempts, and self-injurious behaviors. For more information and links to research, please see: www.samhsa.gov


Marsha Linehan. (1993). Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder (First Edition,). New York: The Guilford Press.