• Decreasing high-risk suicidal and self-harming behaviors

  • Decreasing therapy interfering behaviors by either therapist or patient

  • Decreasing quality of life interfering behaviors

  • Learning and mastering behavioral skills for mood-independent life choices

  • Decreasing symptoms related to post-traumatic stress, other anxiety, and depression

  • Enhancing and sustaining self-respect

  • Additional goals set by patient to create a life worth living



Stage One

  • Decreasing or eliminating life-threatening behaviors (e.g. suicide attempts, suicidal thinking, self-injury, homicidal and aggressive behaviors)

  • Decreasing or eliminating therapy-interfering behaviors (e.g missing sessions, not doing homework, behaving in a way that burns others out)

  • Reducing or eliminating hospitalization as a way of handling crisis

  • Decreasing behaviors that interfere with the quality of life (e.g eating disorders, not going to work or school, addiction, chronic unemployment)

  • Increasing behaviors that will enable the person to have a life worth living

  • Increasing behavioral skills that help to build relationships, manage emotions and deal effectively with various life problems

Stage Two

  • Continuing and building on Stage One skills

  • Targeting and decreasing symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other Anxiety or Depression related symptoms

Stage Three

  • Increasing love and respect for self and others

  • Affirming individual life goals

  • Solving ordinary life problems

Stage Four

  • Developing the capacity for freedom and joy

  • Creating a life worth living


  • People in DBT are doing the best they can.

  • People in DBT want to improve.

  • People in DBT need to do better, to work harder, and be motivated to change.

  • The lives of suicidal individuals are unbearable as they are currently being lived.

  • People in DBT must learn new behaviors in all areas of their lives.

  • People cannot fail in DBT.


  • All therapists, no matter how well trained, are fallible.

  • We make every reasonable effort to conduct competent and effective therapy.

  • We obey standard ethical and professional guidelines.

  • We are available for weekly therapy sessions, phone consultations, and provide needed therapy back-up.

  • We respect the integrity and rights of the patient.

  • We maintain confidentiality.

  • We meet regularly to obtain consultation and support to be effective in the work we do.