Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Are you looking for DBT in Portland? You came to the right place.

What is DBT?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is  a comprehensive cognitive-behavioral treatment that was originally developed to help chronically suicidal people struggling with an inability to regulate their emotions.  It is a treatment that is particularly effective for people with who meet criteria for a disorder called borderline personality (BPD) and enage in self-harm behaviors, such as self-cutting, suicide thoughts, urges to suicide, and suicide attempts.

DBT is also used for other issues as well, including depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, eating disorders, or alcohol and drug problems.

Is DBT Effective?

DBT is an “empirically-supported treatment” which means that it has been researched in clinical trials. While the initial research on DBT was focused on highly suicidal people, studies now supports DBT being used for people who binge-eat, teenagers who are depressed and suicidal, and older clients who become depressed again and again.

What the research says is that DBT is effective in reducing suicidal behavior, psychiatric hospitalization, treatment dropout, substance abuse, anger, and interpersonal difficulties.

Why Not Just Use Medication?

Our commitment at Portland Psychotherapy Clinic is to help our clients so that they can live fuller and more meaningful lives. Our commitment is not just to help our clients feel better, we help them to live better.  It’s a personal choice for you to decide if medication alone accomplishes this for you.

Can I Afford Therapy?

We take many forms of insurance and also provide sliding scale services to those in financial need.

What Can I Expect?

The most important goal in DBT is helping clients create “lives worth living.” What makes a life worth living varies from person to person. A life worth living to one person is finishing school, to another it is getting married and having kids.  While these goals will differ, all clients have in common the task of addressing their behaviors that get in the way of these goals and possibly make their lives even worse.

There are four stages of treatment in DBT to address these behaviors:

Stage I: Moving from Being Out of Control of One’s Behavior to Being in Control

Stage II: Moving from Being Emotionally Shut Down to Experiencing Emotions Fully

Stage III: Building an Ordinary Life, Solving Ordinary Life Problems

Stage IV: Moving from Incompleteness to Completeness/Connection

Why Not Buy A Workbook?

Self-help books can be a great resource and we can recommend some of our favorites to you.  Consider though if a workbook has led to any long-lasting change in your life.  If so, great! If not, then maybe it’s time to consider getting help from a professional.

If you decide you are ready to start taking your life back, the first step is to send us your information below.  We will then call or email you to and discuss how we can start to help.  We can answer any questions you have about therapy and get you in contact with a therapist.

To Review:

  • DBT is scientifically proven to be effective for many people with emotional control problems
  • DBT is effective in the long-term
  • DBT is not only for the rich
  • DBT does not have to take years to work for you


 Scroll down to the bottom of the page.

Want To Learn More About DBT?  Read on…

The original DBT package incorporates four components: individual therapy, skills-training groups, phone coaching, and therapist consultation.  Individual therapy focuses on identifying factors maintaining problem behavior and providing intervention.  Skills-training groups focus on teaching skills to assist in building a life worth living and provides meaningful practice of these skills.  Phone coaching assists clients as they engage in new behaviors in the environment outside of therapy.  Lastly, therapists participate in consultation with other therapists so that they can get support and maintain their effectiveness.

In this original version of DBT, clients attend individual therapy one time per week for about 45 minutes to an hour. They also attend skills groups once per week for two hours. Therapists generally participate in weekly consult and provide time outside of therapy sessions for phone coaching.  The full treatment lasts one year and focuses on learning four sets of skills:

  1. Mindfulness
  2. Interpersonal Effectiveness
  3. Emotion Regulation
  4. Distress Tolerance.

While this is often a good format for many people, DBT can also be delivered in a more flexible manner with more skills groups, with individual therapy alone, and with other lengths of treatment. Our goal at Portland Psychotherapy is to tailor treatment to you so that you get what you need to build a better life. We’ll work with you to deliver a treatment that is effective and if we aren’t the right place, we’ll tell you and refer you to someplace we think will be a better fit.

Shadee Hardy

Hi, I’m Shadee Hardy and I’m a clinical social worker who has been using DBT for almost a decade. I’ve worked with hundreds of people using DBT and have found it to be an effective and engaging treatment that changes people’s lives. If you’d like to talk to me, feel free to call me at (503)281-4852 x217 or you can learn more about me here.

If you’re interested in exploring whether DBT will work for you, I’m happy to talk to you. Just give me a call or contact me below with any questions you might have.

What are you interested in?


DBT individual therapy helps people to apply the DBT skills they are learning. If you are interested in individual therapy, you can contact Shadee Hardy, LCSW using the contact form below:

Contact Shadee Hardy, LCSW, using the confidential form below.

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