News Detail

Marsha Linehan and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) cited in two recent publications: The Bellevue Reporter and ADDitude online magazine.

The Bellevue Reporter shares how Marsha Linehan ’s Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is used by Youth Eastside Services:

By Patti Skelton-McGougan, executive director at Youth Eastside Services.

Learning to manage emotions with Dialectical Behavior Therapy | YES

Explore the model that’s helping thousands of teens in YES’ care get on track to a healthier life.

When Julianna, then 18 years old, came to Youth Eastside Services (YES), she didn’t know how to cope with stress or trauma from her childhood — or the negative emotions they caused — other than using drugs. But through Dialectical Behavior Therapy classes and YES’ counseling services, she was able to learn positive ways of handling tough situations.

“I’ve learned how to ride emotions and … feel the emotion and not be caught up in the feelings. I’ve learned that emotions pass,” she says.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, or DBT, was developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan in the 1970s to treat adult borderline personality disorder. It focuses on empowering teens (and adults) to better handle their emotions and build more effective relationships by teaching skills in four areas:

Mindfulness – Helps teens control and regulate their attention and learn to me more present in their daily lives.

Distress tolerance – Helps teens tolerate stressful situations and make better decisions under distress.

Interpersonal effectiveness – Helps teens negotiate relationships with others by asking for what they want and need – and by saying “no” effectively.

Emotion regulation – Helps teens recognize, validate and reduce the intensity of their emotions.

Read the entire article here .

This ADDitude article discusses how Marsha Linehan ’s Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is being used to treat Adult ADHD

DBT: The Emotional Control Therapy You Need Now

Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) may help prevent intense emotions from throwing you off course. Learn why it’s becoming the next big treatment strategy for ADHD here.


Amanda, 33, struggles with attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD ). She takes medication and sees a coach to help her with organization and time management skills, but her mood swings are her biggest remaining problem — snapping at others when feeling overwhelmed or impulsively taking on too many responsibilities when she is feeling better. She worries that her boyfriend will leave her because he is tired of her defensiveness when she is forgetful and her unloading her work-related stress on him. Amanda wants to work through these behaviors — for herself and for her relationship — but she needs a new approach to help her.

Progress in Non-Medical Treatment Options for ADHD

One of the heartening advances in treating ADHD is the increasing number of non-medical options available to people looking to improve their lives. Adults who take medication often find that adjunctive approaches, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and coaching, help them better manage the effects of ADHD on their lives. But unfortunately, even though these treatments are effective for many adults, they don’t work for everyone. And they illustrate the paradox of psychosocial treatment for ADHD: Behavior change requires specialized skills and strategies, but, as most of us know, implementing them is tough for adults with ADHD.

Amanda needed other options for her persistent problems. So she turned to an important innovation within the CBT family of treatments:dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). DBT focuses on the social and emotional challenges in one’s life. It is not a new therapy, having come on the scene with other CBT-oriented treatments for adult ADHD in the early 2000’s. DBT offers advice to improve self-regulation skills that may be helpful for those who do not respond to other approaches. Read on to learn the history of DBT, why it works for ADHD, and how it might help you.

Wasn’t DBT Designed to Treat BPD?

DBT was used to treat other mental conditions before it was adapted to treat adult ADHD. It is the brainchild of Marsha Linehan, Ph.D., ABPP, a professor of psychology at the University of Washington and founder of The Linehan Institute. DBT was designed to withstand bouts of emotional turmoil — including self-harming behaviors, such as cutting — for those diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD). BPD is characterized by unpredictable mood swings and reckless behaviors, chaotic relationships, extreme reactions to stress, and a chronic risk for self-harm and suicide.

Why Is DBT Becoming the Go-To Treatment for ADD?

Linehan’s DBT is now the go-to treatment for improving emotional regulation skills, in those diagnosed with anxiety and ADHD. DBT rests on scientifically sound behavioral and cognitive strategies, and incorporates skills like mindfulness and acceptance principles. DBT skills include fostering the “wise mind” (the balance between the logical and emotional minds), self-soothing activities, and acting in ways that are in contrast to the immediate, distressing emotion — for instance, smiling during an upsetting situation.

Read the entire artcile here .