CMHA Toronto’s Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) program is a one-year intensive program for individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD). Individuals diagnosed with BPD have difficulty controlling strong emotions, such as anxiety, shame and anger, which can lead to self-injurious behaviours, such as cutting, burning, suicide attempts, self-harm and suicide thoughts and gestures; impulsive acts, such as abusing alcohol and/or drugs, overspending, binge-eating, etc.; and angry outbursts. These behaviours are a way of trying to solve life’s problems and reduce intense and painful emotions. They may provide relief in the moment and may cause more suffering in the long-term. CMHA Toronto’s DBT program teaches healthy problem-solving skills that help reduce impulsive behaviours and meet long-term goals.
Types of Treatment and Services Offered
The program consists of individual counselling and a skills group. For DBT to be a successful experience, it is essential to participate in both program components.
Weekly, one-to-one therapy sessions with a primary counsellor help you identify the changes you want to make in your life. During therapy sessions, your counsellor will coach you to apply the skills taught in the group and to problem-solve current difficulties you are facing. The goal of DBT is to help you replace skills you have used in the past with new, more effective skills.
In weekly groups, you are introduced to a range of new coping skills. There are four main skills taught in the groups: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation and interpersonal effectiveness. These skills address the patterns of intense emotions and impulsive behaviours often experienced by people with BPD. During group sessions, homework is assigned to help you practice skills.
CMHA Toronto’s DBT services are for individuals 18 years of age or older who have been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, are not involved in other talking therapies, AND/OR who:
1. Are willing and able to participate in one-to-one virtual counselling and skills groups, AND
2. Have a recent history of repeated suicide attempts (2 or more in the past year), AND/OR
3. Actively engage in self-injurious behaviour (in the past month), AND/OR
4. Experience mental health crises resulting in frequent hospital emergency department services (5 or more visits in the past year).
CMHA Toronto’s DBT services are currently offered virtually.
Referral and Application
At this time, CMHA Toronto’s DBT Program is not accepting referrals. We will update our website when referrals are open for the program.