DBT Program

There are three stages to assessment at DBT UK. At each stage there is the opportunity to make informed decisions about whether you wish to continue with the DBT programme. It also helps us understand whether this is the right time for you to begin DBT.

Initial Assessment

The initial assessment takes place with Darryl Christie , or an experienced member of the wider team. This stage of the assessment allows us to begin to understand what has been going on for you and will ask you questions about your experiences as well as background information that helps inform our decision about whether we feel this is the best place to be able to offer the support you are looking for. It may also include completing some questionnaires. Following this initial assessment, we meet as a team to think carefully about whether we feel a further assessment is necessary or whether we feel that there may be an alternative service that could provide more specific support. It is designed to explore whether you are suitable for the programme and whether you can relate to some of the therapeutic approaches used within DBT. It is also a chance for you to ask any specific questions you may have about the therapy.

Family Groups

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD/EUPD) is a condition that can make emotions difficult to cope with. These very intense emotions can last from a few hours to a few days and change very quickly. Anger and Sadness can be particularly strong and difficult to control. A common fear in this group is that they will be abandoned by the people they care about (this can be an imagined fear) and so will go to extreme lengths to prevent this from happening.

Often in an attempt to cope with these difficulties the sufferers will deliberately self-harm and in some cases even attempt suicide. Relationships are also both hard to form and hard to maintain and so a social life is difficult, often because there is a lack of interpersonal skills. In situations that are stressful then paranoia can develop where suspicion of others and their motives is high or alternatively they could completely dissociate and become detached from the present reality.


DBT for Adolescents (DBT-A) is a skills-based programme with growing empirical evidence that has been found effective in supporting teenagers and young people with difficulties related to emotion dysregulation, self-harm and suicidality, as well as other problematic and impulsive behaviours. DBT-A involves individual therapy and group skills training. Other components include phone consultation (patients are encouraged to call their therapists when they feel the urge to self-harm) and consultation team meetings.

What problems does DBT-A treat?

DBT-A addresses five major problem areas through a variety of treatment modes and specific skills. These five areas include:

  • Unawareness of emotions, dissociation and feelings of emptiness,
  • Emotion dysregulation and angry outbursts,
  • Impulsivity (self-harm, aggression, substance misuse and suicidal threats/actions)
  • Interpersonal problems (unstable relationships, interpersonal conflict, social isolation, loss)
  • Parent-teen Dilemmas (poor problem solving, rigid thinking, poor communication)