Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) | Aster Springs

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a skills-based type of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The primary goals of DBT include helping people regulate their emotions, have more successful interpersonal relationships, increase their distress tolerance, and be more mindful of their thoughts, feelings, and environment.

Though it was designed to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD), DBT is also effective in treating substance abuse as well as a variety of mental health disorders, including eating disorders.

Overview of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Odyssey Behavioral Healthcare’s AVP of Clinical Services, Kate Fisch, LCSW, discusses dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Components

Treatment In Stages

At Aster Springs, there are four stages of DBT treatment. What happens during each stage depends on each client’s behaviors. There’s not a set time frame for each stage so that each client can progress at their own pace with therapists providing provide support during each stage.
  1. In the first stage of DBT, clients often have out-of-control behavior and are miserable. They may try to harm or even kill themselves. Some of them use alcohol or drugs and engage in self-destructive activities. The therapist’s objective is to help them achieve control over their behavior.

  2. Clients may feel as though they live in quiet desperation during the second stage. Although their behavior is under control, they continue to suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or similar issues. Therapists aim to treat co-occurring disorders, like PTSD, if it’s part of the client’s diagnoses.

  3. During the third stage of DBT, clients learn to live. They define goals for their lives and learn to respect themselves. Our therapists also help them achieve happiness and peace.

  4. Not all clients need the fourth stage of treatment. It involves finding a deeper meaning in life through spirituality. It’s only necessary when living with ordinary happiness and unhappiness doesn’t work. During this stage, clients transition from feeling incomplete to leading a life full of freedom and joy.

Skills Training

Learning skills and how to apply them in everyday situations is a vital component of our DBT program. Most of the skills training occur in a class-like group setting, during which clients have homework every week to practice the skills in real life.
Kate Fisch LCSW Headshot - Aster Springs


Kate Fisch, LCSW

Kate Fisch is the AVP of Clinical Services for Odyssey’s Eating Disorder Network. With 17 years of clinical leadership and direct client care experience in the eating disorders field, she has a history of innovation, clinical training, and resource development in a variety of eating disorder treatment settings supporting families, clients, and clinicians.
If you’d like to learn more about DBT or our other treatment offerings, the compassionate team at Aster Springs is here to help.