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At Zucker Hillside Hospital, we offer a complete Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) program for the treatment of borderline personality disorder. DBT is a form of cognitive behavior therapy that was specifically developed to treat chronically suicidal and/or self-injuring people living with borderline personality disorder, but has now been adapted to also treat patients with suicidality, self injury, and other high-risk behaviors as well as those with depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, eating disorders and substance abuse problems.

People with borderline personality disorder tend to experience:

  • Problems with anger
  • Chaotic relationships with others
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Intense fear of abandonment
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Inadequate sense of self
  • Recurrent suicidal or self-injurious behavior
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness or loneliness

As a comprehensive treatment, DBT has the following goals:

  • Decreasing life-threatening behaviors (i.e., suicide attempts, suicide threats, suicidal thoughts)
  • Decreasing therapy-interfering behaviors (i.e., missing or coming late to sessions, remaining mute in session, making demanding or threatening remarks)
  • Decreasing quality of life-interfering behaviors (i.e., fighting with people, substance abuse, trouble holding down a job)
  • Increasing coping skills (i.e., learning to deal with conflict, learning to cope with painful emotions, improving positive self-care)

Our services

To participate in the Zucker Hillside DBT program, patients are asked to commit to the program for a minimum of one year. During this time period, patients are expected to attend:

  • Weekly individual DBT sessions
  • Weekly 75-minute DBT skills group sessions
  • Monthly or quarterly medication management appointments

DBT clinicians participate in a weekly consultation team meeting to assure adherence to the structure of DBT treatment.

Our program is composed of multiple treatment modalities, including:

Individual psychotherapy

Each patient has a primary psychotherapist with whom he or she meets weekly in ongoing individual sessions. All other treatment modes revolve around the individual psychotherapy.

Skills group training

DBT skills group training focuses on helping patients develop the coping skills they need to solve their own problems and achieve desired goals. Four skills training modules are taught in DBT:

  • Core mindfulness skills
  • Distress tolerance skills
  • Emotional regulation skills
  • Interpersonal effectiveness skills

Phone consultations

Intersession phone consultations with the primary therapist is encouraged in DBT. Calls typically focus on decreasing suicide risk behaviors and increasing application of skills to everyday life.

Availability of a patient's primary therapist after clinic hours is negotiated individually as part of each patient’s treatment plan.

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