Within the world of therapy, there are often a lot of terms thrown around. As a consumer, it can be hard to understand what they all mean and what is the best fit for you or your family. In this blog, I will walk you through the difference between adherent DBT versus DBT-informed intervention.
Adherent DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) consists of four components that directly correspond to the evidence-based model developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan and colleagues.
The four components are:
1. A DBT Skills Group: A weekly group session focusing on skills training around four key DBT modules: Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotion Regulation, and Interpersonal Effectiveness.
2. Individual Therapy: In addition to the group therapy, clients also have weekly individual therapy sessions with a DBT-trained clinician to focus more on individual needs.
3. Skills Coaching: This is a crisis phone service available to clients between sessions to provide skills coaching in the moment, for when clients experience strong or harmful urges or emotions.
4. Team Consultation: All members of the clinical DBT team meet regularly in order to collaborate their clients’ care and provider support for one another.
A DBT program is only “adherent” when all four components are offered and utilized.
DBT-informed therapy, such as the individual and group sessions offered through Integrated Care Clinic, differs from adherent DBT in the following ways:
- Skills coaching, in the most traditional sense, is not offered. Now, if a client is in need, they would be able to call their clinician during regular business hours. Depending on the provider’s availability, they may answer the call immediately, or call the client back when they can. Of course, if a client is in crisis, our providers would attend to the client’s needs, assess for safety, and plan accordingly.
- We do not require that clients attend both DBT group AND individual therapy. We would be happy to provide both. Clients, however, would not be excluded if they are only able to attend group sessions.
Our DBT skills group is similar to the group in adherent DBT, as it tackles the four key components (i.e. Mindfulness, Emotional Regulation, Distress Tolerance, and Interpersonal Effectiveness). If a client engages in individual therapy, they would be able to connect with a DBT-trained clinician within Integrated Care Clinic. The providers involved in the DBT group engage in weekly team consultation. This allows them to coordinate care around the group needs.
Pros and Cons
While adherent DBT most closely mirrors the research-based intervention created by Dr. Linehan, there are not many programs that are truly adherent. Those that are can sometimes be housed within inpatient facilities. In addition, many people are not able to attend bi-weekly sessions. DBT-informed therapy is a bit more flexible, so it is not as closely linked with the research. This makes it more accessible to those that are struggling, but not necessarily in severe crisis.