Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

This is a researched-based combination of cognitive and behavioral therapies. Its main goals are to teach people how to live in the moment, develop healthy ways to cope with stress, regulate their emotions, and improve their relationships with others.

DBT is a relatively brief (typically 20-24 therapy sessions) model specifically focusing on four key areas: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotional regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. Additionally, our program offers in-home psycho-education skills sessions for youth and families to teach and reinforce new behavioral skills and strengthen their ability to use those skills in their everyday lives.

The goals of DBT are to transform negative thinking patterns and destructive behaviors into positive outcomes by learning:

  1. Skills to increase being present and non-judgmentally aware in the moment

  2. Skills to manage difficult feelings without acting impulsively

  3. Skills to prevent or decrease emotions or the intensity of emotions

  4. Skills to manage effective communication with others


  • 3-17 years old

  • Enrolled in a contracted Health Care Plan

  • Enrolled in AHCCCS

  • Youth that need help changing their behavior patterns, as opposed to trying to think or talk through the issues they are struggling with. DBT is appropriate for those who:

    • Struggle with self-harm behaviors like cutting and chronic suicidal ideation

    • Have post-traumatic stress disorder

    • Are survivors of sexual trauma

    • Have borderline personality disorder

    • Battle feelings of extreme anger, frustration, anxiety and depression

    • Have issues with impulsive and/or reckless behavior, along with unstable relationships

    • Have other mental health issues that threaten a person’s safety, relationships, work, and emotional well-being

  • Parent/Caregiver involvement in treatment is highly desirable.

To refer a client for the DBT program, send the following documents to BHReferral@hcs-az.org:

  • Direct Service Referral form with up to date contact information

  • Initial Assessment/ Annual Psychological Evaluation including current diagnosis and BHP signature

  • CFT or provider Service Plan with parent/ guardian signature identifying DBT

  • Strengths, Needs, Cultural Discovery (if one has been completed)

  • CAS II for youth over 5

  • Crisis Plan (if one has been completed)