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The Course and Evolution of Dialectical Behavior Therapy

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Dialectical behavior therapy was originally developed from early efforts to apply standard behavior therapy to treat individuals who were highly suicidal. Its development was a trial and error effort driven primarily from clinical experience.

Dialectical behavior therapy is a modular and hierarchical treatment consisting of a combination of individual psychotherapy, group skills, training, telephone coaching, and a therapist consultation team. The inherent modularity and hierarchical structure of DBT has allowed for relative ease in adapting and applying the treatment to other populations and settings. New skills have been developed and/or modified due to clinical need and/or advancement in research such as treatment outcomes or mechanisms. There has been an effort to implement DBT skills as a standalone treatment. More research is needed to assess how DBT skills work and for whom. As DBT broadens its reach, the treatment will continue to grow and adapt to meet demands of an evolving clinical landscape.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Behavioral Research and Therapy Clinics, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA

Publication date: June 1, 2015

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  • The American Journal of Psychotherapy will no longer be available via Ingenta Connect from May 15, 2017. Please contact the publisher at [email protected] for information on how to continue access to this title.
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