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Dialetical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)

DBT is an evidence-based therapy that was originally developed to treat chronically suicidal individuals with complex needs. It is the gold standard psychological treatment for this population. Research also shows that it is effective in treating other difficulties including substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), eating disorders, and other behavioural difficulties. It is also being used with non-clinical populations, such as school children and in workplaces, and has very good outcomes.

DBT strategies help people get unstuck from difficult positions. We use a behavioural approach to assess the barriers that are relevant to our clients’ goals in order to collaboratively figure out solutions. The ultimate goal is to help people live meaningful lives.

A full DBT programme has four modes of treatment, which is different than most other psychotherapies that consist of just one way of delivering therapy. The four modes are: Individual therapy, skills training group, between-session phone coaching, and a consultation team for therapists that helps us deliver the treatment effectively.

Skills Group

Skills training is one of the four main components of DBT. Full skills groups generally run between 26-52 weeks long. Skills groups have modules targeting managing high levels of distress, regulating emotions, enhancing relationship skills, and finding balance.


Between-Session Coaching

The purpose of between-session coaching is to help you use strategies you have learned in therapy in real-life situations. These can be scheduled calls, emails, videos or, depending on therapist availability, unscheduled calls. They are short in duration (15 minutes or less) and focused on solving the immediate problem. They do not replace therapy sessions.


In our practice at Balance Psychology Aotearoa we provide treatment that is indicated based on levels of need. Some people require more intensive treatment while others may only require individual therapy or skills training. This can be decided in consultation with your therapist. We do not provide crisis services and will work with DHB’s who can provide this when needed.

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