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Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Special Interest Group


The BABCP DBT Special Interest Group focuses on promoting the practice of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) in the UK and Ireland, as well as supporting research and training in contextual behavioural science. 

We are a group of trained and practicing professionals and welcome people who are interested in developing and sharing knowledge of DBT. We also welcome people with an interest in learning bits and pieces of DBT, so you don’t need to be a DBT Therapist to join the SIG!

Committee Members

Chair Jemma Hill
Secretary Catherine Parker
Treasurer Fiona Kennedy
Branch Liaison Isabel Clarke

What is Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)?

DBT is an evolution of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy originally developed for suicidal “difficult-to-treat” clients with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) by Dr Marsha Linehan.  It is now known as one of “Third Wave Therapies” along with ACT, CFT, MBCT and others. 

DBT is an evidence-based treatment that addresses people’s ideas about themselves, their world, their emotional pain, and how they cope with feeling upset. It’s a therapy designed for difficult to treat, complex presentations

DBT has been shown to be an effective way to help people understand and experience their painful thoughts and feelings, while finding less dangerous ways to cope, this means they can change some of the ways they think and feel what they have been through. DBT includes participation in group therapy, in individual therapy, and medication management. Participants learn skills or replacement coping behaviours.  DBT incorporates mindfulness, balance, acceptance and change.



While we post external links to useful resources and articles, BABCP is not responsible for the content of third party sites or for any content removed or altered by the host site.

The following video provides an introduction to DBT: (posted 18 Feb 2021)

More information on DBT can be found here: (posted 18 Feb 2021)

Journal articles

Modeling the suicidal behavior cycle: Understanding repeated suicide attempts among individuals with borderline personality disorder and a history of attempting suicide Kuehn, Kevin S.; King, Kevin M.; Linehan, Marsha M.; Harned, Melanie S., 2020. DOI:

Hear us! Seven women diagnosed with borderline personality disorder describe what they need from their therapy relationships. Goldstein, Shari E., 2020. DOI:

Problematic systems: Applying a multicultural orientation framework to understand "problematic members". Rigg, Thomas; Kivlighan, D. Martin, III; Tao, Karen W., 2020 DOI:

DBT and coping with COVID

DBT Skills & Managing the Pandemic 
Over the last few months, many people have been struggling with strong reactions to the situations they suddenly find themselves in, often feeling overwhelmed and emotionally dysregulated.  Therapists and counsellors have suggested many strategies and techniques to manage during these unprecedented times.  Consider, for example, the tips for “Mental Health Wellness for Quarantine”, posted by Eileen Feliciano, Clinical Psychologist working with adults and children at the height of the pandemic in New York.  They are excellent examples of using skilful means in the face of extreme and pervasive distress.  Accessed through:  
Wise Mind
Wise Mind is needed more than ever at a time of Covid. We need to access Wise Mind for accepting the situation. Moving forward from where you are and not where you would like to be. This requires the skill of managing uncertainty and letting go of spurious control, is at the heart of this.

The basic certainties such as safety and the necessities of life, that we can normally take more or less for granted, can be up in the air. Top of the list is continuation of life. Death, either our own, or the death of those close to us, particularly if they fall within vulnerable groups, suddenly seems much more real.  Then there are other realistic fears around continuation of income, finance, accommodation and the availability of food. Any one of these can be designed to plunge someone into Emotion Mind – together, it could be a perfect storm. Enter skills for managing Emotion Mind, or where the anxiety is acute, Distress Tolerance.

Relationships are another area that might be tossed up in the air by the new situation. People having to spend more time confined together, with pressures of caring for children; maybe work pressures; the stress of loss of the accustomed routine. Also, the stress of separation from the people we can no longer associate with face to face.  In the new situation, relationships might need re-evaluating – the Relationship Triangle comes in here.  Skills will be needed to negotiate change without conflict (DEAR MAN etc.).

Making Lemonade out of Lemons
Change is not necessarily all bad. DBT has a number of skills to offer to enable us to make the most of a new situation. Maybe even get out of a rut and take things forward in a new, more mindful, spirit. ‘Improve the Moment’ is an obvious place to start. Where life has slowed down, it could be an opportunity to use mindfulness to really engage with the world around us and appreciate simple, ordinary, things. The new situation might also offer the opportunity to branch out. Start engaging in activities that were previously skimped because of all the rushing around – cooking, looking after the living space etc. Having the children around all the time could be a pain, but also an opportunity if grasped in a Wise Mind spirit. 

The following is a short video by on coping with Covid using crisis survival skills:


To contact the special interest group please email:

0330 320 0851
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Imperial House, Hornby Street, Bury, Lancashire  BL9 5BN
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