Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Northland Counseling Center’s (adult) DBT program is Certified, by the State of Minnesota, and incorporates the model developed by Dr. Marsha M. Linehan’s Behavioral Tech program.

What is DBT?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy  is a broad-based cognitive behavioral treatment, originally developed for adults with Borderline Personality Disorder. Since then, research has shown that DBT can be effective for a wide range of other diagnoses. Also, there are now programs for adolescents, as well as those for adults.

The goal of DBT:

DBT is designed  to help people develop skills and change behaviors, so that they are no longer experiencing the negative consequences of the following problems:

  1. Frequent conflicts with other people or a tendency to be controlled by other people.
  2. Either displaying extreme emotions (rage, despair, guilt, or etc.) or holding feelings in, denying feelings, numbness, disociation, etc.
  3. Attempts to cope with emotional crises with unhealthy behaviors, such as self-harm, suicidal threats or attempts, excessive drug or alcohol use, prematurely breaking off relationships, etc.

DBT Services:

Participants fortunate enough to be accepted into the DBT program for adults receive the following intensive package of services:

  1. At least one weekly, one-hour individual therapy session (more frequent, as needed)
  2. Weekly, 2.5 hour Group Skills Training, using Marsha M. Linihan’s manual, DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets­ (Second Edition), focusing on Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation, and Distress Tolerance, all designed to increase the participant’s Core Mindfulness.
  3. As needed telephone consultation with the Individual Therapist
  4. The benefit of all DBT therapists meeting together once weekly as a Consultation Team, ensuring consistency and regular peer support and consultation

Ascend, our DBT program that serves teens, has a similar format, but the acceptance process and  group therapy schedule differ somewhat from that of the program for adults.


Referrals to the adult or teen programs may be made by the individual seeking services, family members, judges or Probation Officers, other professionals in the community or Northland Counseling Center, etc.  However, before being admitted into the DBT program, individuals must:

  1. Meet a specific set of inclusion requirements
  2. Demonstrate ability to attend therapy consistently, without excessive absences
  3. Agree to the required period of commitment and sign a statement to that effect
  4. Be accepted by the Consultation Team as sufficiently meeting the admission criteria
  5. Complete the DBT Orientation.

Program Costs

Northland Counseling Center accepts most major health insurances, including Medical Assistance. Individuals without insurance coverage or with deductibles may qualify for an income based sliding-fee.

For information or to schedule an appointment for Assessment, Evaluation or Testing Services, contact our Receptionist at
218-283-3406 Ext. 0