DBT for Substance Use Disorders (DBT-SUD)


Dialectical Abstinence is the core model of DBT-SUD. The foundation of this treatment is the dilemma between Total Abstinence and Harm Reduction

Comprehensive DBT has ample research (Harned et al., 2008; Linehan et al., 1999; Linehan, et al. 2002; van den Bosch, et al. 2002) to support its effectiveness with substance used disorders. The treatment incorporates additional skills, self management strategies, and drug replacement methods.

Comprehensive DBT is effective for individuals with multiple co-occuring disorders such as self-injury, suicidality, eating disorders, mood or anxiety disorders, etc. Our DBT programming focuses on outpatient treatment and sees acute detox and hospitalization as, at times, interfering with building a long term life worth living.

Commitments in the DBT-SUD program:

  • A 12-month commitment to

    • Individual therapy (at least once weekly)

      • Addressing higher-order primary targets (e.g., therapy interfering behavior, suicidal behavior, etc.)

    • Skills class (once weekly)

    • Phone coaching (24/7)

    • Family therapy (required for adolescents)

    • Replacement medications (when indicated)

    • Urinalysis (three times weekly)

  • Participants also commit to

    • Stopping all illegal substances

    • Stopping all distribution of drugs to others

    • Appear sober when at the office