For those unfamiliar with what Borderline Personality Disorder is, it’s an acute mental health condition that makes an individuals to experience intense emotional distress. It also causes high rates of suicide. Now, back in the 1980s, there was a lot of fear surrounding this disorder, to the point where professional psychologists were cautioned against working with Borderline Patients. The belief was that treating a borderline patient was impossible.

Today, we know that is no longer the case. There is hope for those struggling with BPD through a therapy called dialectical behavior therapy.

DBT effectiveness

DBT has won widespread approval in the psychological realm for its effectiveness in helping patients manage suicidal ideation, & self-harming behaviors. In fact, it’s become tagged as the “gold standard” for treating BPD. The only challenge is that Nearly half of Americans lack access to this treatment. Providers qualified to offer treatment are less than a quarter.

What does DBT look like in actual practice?

So, what does DBT look like in actual practice? Well, it is a therapy in which patients learn to embrace and manage their painful emotions and challenging situations while also working towards changing any behaviors contributing to their ongoing suffering. This therapeutic approach is known as “dialectic” because it focuses on helping patients find a balance between these seemingly contradictory actions. In other words the patient accepts and learns to manage painful emotions while also making changes to improve overall well-being.


Patients undergo individual therapy and group sessions where they are trained in skills such as mindfulness, boundary setting, and seeking assistance. In instances of impromptu crisis , patients receive coaching via phone to effectively use the acquired skills for coping purposes. The optimal duration for adults to fully reap the benefits of DBT is at least a year, while adolescents typically require six months.

Furthermore, therapists involved in administering DBT have regular consultations with a team of providers to address any challenges that may arise during treatment.


One challenge facing DBT is the pervasive fear among mental health professionals.  As in when treating individuals with BD, they are at high risk for suicide, & they may open themselves up to potential legal action. This concern impacts the treatment decisions of professionals. Another area of concern is insurance. Insurance companies will cover individual therapy alone and not group therapy. This means limited treatment, impacting individuals to fully benefit from the comprehensive approach of DBT.

These are the only challenges. If you know anyone struggling with suicidal thoughts, call 988 and press 1. While DBT is effective for individuals struggling with suicidal thoughts, other specialized therapies are available for those dealing with different mental health challenges, such as Autism. One such example is ABA therapy, which is effective for children and adults with Autism.

In Nevada, Nevada Autism Center is a leader in quality therapy services, utilizing evidence-based practices to help individuals with ASD reach their full potential.

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