Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)



What is DBT?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based treatment program that focuses on decreasing behaviors that are life-threatening or that can interfere with therapy or quality of life, while increasing a person’s life skills to promote emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, and distress tolerance. A highly effective treatment, DBT is helpful in treating intense emotional swings, impulsiveness, and suicidal behaviors. DBT is appropriate for a range of problems, including depression, substance abuse, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, borderline personality disorder, self-harming behaviors, and anger-related problems.

About Oaklawn's DBT program

The DBT program is part of Oaklawn’s comprehensive adolescent residential program and features a 12-bed, all female unit. Residents in this program are 14 to 17 years of age with IQs of 70 or above.
This program is designed for adolescent females who have demonstrated a pattern of emotion dysregulation, self-destructive behavior, unstable or unhealthy relationships, and impulsive behaviors that have interferred with the ability to function at home, school or in the community. In addition to individual and family therapy, the DBT program provides skills training and coaching on four skill sets:

  • emotion regulation
  • interpersonal effectiveness
  • mindfulness
  • distress tolerance

These four skill modules are designed to assist residents in effectively managing their emotions through better understanding of their emotional vulnerability. Residents learn appropriate ways to manage stress and to calm themselves, to express their emotions effectively, and to prevent their emotions from dominating judgment and problem-solving. In addition, residents learn techniques to improve their ability to develop and maintain healthy relationships, and to attain greater contentment and self-control.

In addition, residents receive case management, medication management, training in activities of daily living, community integration, and recreational therapy.
The DBT program offers young women the opportunity to gain an understanding of their feelings and behaviors and to learn appropriate ways of managing their emotions and relationships. Our intensive residential treatment program is designed to promote stabilization as well as long-term progress through the use of skills groups.

Education program

Residents in the DBT program participate in ongoing education while at Oaklawn. A comprehensive school program under the direction and administration of Goshen Community Schools is a key component for our residential youth, all of whom have unique educational needs. The on-site, state-of-the-art program features a fully equipped Education Center and teachers certified in special education.


Referrals for the DBT residential program will be accepted from case managers and probation officers. For information on referral or fees, call Oaklawn’s residential division support specialist at (574) 537-2755.

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