What is brief therapy?

Brief therapy is a systematic, focused process that relies on assessment, client engagement, and rapid implementation of change strategies. Brief therapy providers can effect important changes in client behavior within a relatively short period (SAMHSA, 1999).

12-week Brief DBT program

Pillars is currently offering a 12-week brief DBT program. If you are interested in this program, contact our administrative staff to see if this program is right for you! 

What is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy?

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a modified type of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Its main goals are to teach people how to live in the moment, develop healthy ways to cope with stress, regulate their emotions, and improve their relationships with others.

DBT was originally intended to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD), but it has been adapted to treat other mental health conditions. It can help people who have difficulty with regulating their emotions, struggle with relationships, or are exhibiting self-destructive behaviors (such as eating disorders, self-harm, suicidal ideation, substance abuse, self-sabotage, etc.) This type of therapy is also sometimes used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

What to expect:

Each session will ideally consist of 30 minutes of client centered therapy and processing, and the other half of the session will focus on building skills in mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance and interpersonal effectiveness.  

  • 2 weeks focused on mindfulness 
  • 3 weeks focused on distress tolerance 
  • 3 weeks focused on emotion regulation 
  • 3 weeks focused on interpersonal effectiveness 
  • 1 week review of all skills


Week 1: Introduction to DBT and mindfulness

Week 2: Mindfulness: the 3 mind states

Week 3: Distress tolerance: pros and cons / distraction / self-soothing / improve the moment 

Week 4: Distress tolerance: radical acceptance: why acceptance / barriers / how to do radical acceptance 

Week 5: Distress tolerance: turning the mind / willingness / mindfulness of current thoughts 

Week 6: Emotion regulation: what and why / things that can get in the way 

Week 7: Emotion regulation: positive emotions / mastery / coping / values 

Week 8: Emotion regulation: self-care taking care of yourself (PLEASE)/ mindfulness of current emotion / opposite action / problem solving 

Week 9: Interpersonal effectiveness: what is interpersonal effectiveness / dialectics / middle ground / THINK 

Week 10: Interpersonal effectiveness: relationship effectiveness goals/ DEAR MAN

Week 11: Interpersonal effectiveness: the “how to” on keeping relationships / validation / GIVE / self-respect effectiveness / FAST

Week 12: Review: mindfulness / distress tolerance / emotion regulation / interpersonal effectiveness

Transfer and Treatment Termination 

Throughout this 12 session treatment protocol efforts should be made to find longer term care if that’s desired. Pillars providers will attempt to help clients identify resources that will best fit the clients needs, but it will be the clients responsibility to find ongoing care, when needed.

More information about DBT

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy