Why DBT? (Part 1)

March 11, 2024

A couple years ago, we asked the DBT community “Why DBT?” to find out why DBT is important. We received responses from practitioners, clients, friends and family, researchers, and students, and we are excited to share part 1 of some of those responses with you.  


“I love DBT because it is practical. It provides clients with concrete steps to change their lives. Every client who makes an effort to use DBT skills sees a positive difference in their lives. Many clients say that it is the only type of therapy that has worked for them. Even though it is considered to be a complex treatment (from the clinician perspective), it is a simple treatment (from the client perspective). I also love the core mindfulness skills and dialectical theory, which elevate the practicality of DBT to encompass more existential (dare I say spiritual?) concerns. I also love the authenticity of the relationship between therapist and client in DBT and the fact that therapists are expected to “walk the talk.” DBT skills have been helpful in my own life, and it has been helpful to share how I use DBT skills with clients.” 

Renee McGrath, DBT Practitioner 


“DBT saved my sons life. Period. He was 2 years into treatment and nobody ever explained highly sensitive kids or emotion regulation. When he tried to kill himself at a residential treatment center, their answer was to isolate him for 24-48 hours as if that would work. His “inaccurate expression” (what the rest of the world calls “lying”) at that time was telling a story about a trauma that never occurred to his team at the RTC. He was labeled by his therapist at the RTC as “playing games.” When we finally found the experts at McLean Hospital, they understood his “inaccurate expression” and their response was, “Of course, your son is in a huge amount of pain and he is telling a story to illicit a response of compassion from others that matches the pain he is in” – WOW!!! Someone who isn’t blaming the child!!! Life saved, family saved. DBT will always be part of our lives. Marsha Linehan will always be our hero.” 

Anonymous – Family Member of a DBT Client 


“My experience in DBT started in grad school as a co-facilitator for a DBT skills group. While I knew nothing about DBT it was soon very clear to me that the individuals that were doing homework and engaging openly in the treatment had a very noticeable improvement. In that short time span I was also part of a processing group and a CBT group and was not able to see the same progress. It was 15 years ago and I have always been engaged in furthering my training and maintaining my DBT practice to now be a private practice therapist.” 

Tammy Rivane – DBT Practitioner


“Many years ago I was diagnosed with BPD and DBT was one of the therapies I learned. It has been very beneficial to me through the years because of my ups and downs with BPD and anxiety. At this healthier time in my life, I find mental health very important and still like to keep up to date with everything to keep healthy. I also write newsletters that can hold valuable information about our mental health, and if I can make a positive impact on anyone’s life with that knowledge, that would be great.”

Pennie – DBT Client


“DBT has a powerful role in the larger framework I’m building to treat each client. The mindfulness & somatic pieces, distress tolerance and cognitive pieces, and interpersonal effectiveness pieces all play an important part in the toolkit I’m helping each client build. Marsha Linehan is a hero of mine.” 

Anonymous – DBT Practitioner 


Interested to learn more about DBT? Get more information here!



Disclaimer: The Behavioral Tech Institute blog is designed to facilitate the sharing of ideas, experiences, and insights related to Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). The content and views expressed in the articles, comments, and linked resources are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the views, policies, or positions of Behavioral Tech Institute or staff. Content is provided for information and discussion purposes only and is not intended as professional advice. Contributors to the Behavioral Tech Institute blog are independent, and their participation does not represent an endorsement by Behavioral Tech Institute.