Explains what dialectical behaviour therapy is, who it can help, what happens during therapy and how to access it.
The main ways you can seek DBT through the NHS are:
Unfortunately, many people find that accessing DBT can be quite difficult depending on the area you live in. If you're on a long waiting list you could ask your doctor if there is any other local support that you can get while you are waiting for your therapy to start. It may also help to have an advocate who can support you in accessing treatment. (See our pages on advocacy for more information about advocacy services.)
"I was referred to a Personality Disorder clinic but found out only group DBT is available is this area and the waiting list was approximately 6 months long....I’m left here with no hope of ever receiving individual DBT therapy."
Some private therapists offer DBT, although they will charge a fee so this is not an option for everyone. There is currently no official, comprehensive register of DBT therapists in the UK, but specialist organisations such as Refer self counselling psychotherapy practice (RSCPP) provide details of some DBT teams and therapists on their websites.
(See our page on private sector care for more information.)
Unlike some other therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), it can be difficult to learn DBT techniques by yourself. You might find that doing it by yourself is not as effective as going to individual and group sessions run by trained therapists. It can also be very overwhelming when you start doing DBT, so having the support of a therapist can be really helpful.
There are many benefits to working with a trained therapist, for example:
You may be able to find DBT self-help materials such as diary cards, exercises and behavioural analysis sheets freely available online for you to use to brush up your DBT training alongside or after finishing a formal course. The DBT Self Help website offers these resources.
This information was published in April 2017. We will revise it in 2020.
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