Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavioral therapy, or DBT, was initially developed to treat borderline personality disorder but has since been found to be effective in treating several conditions, including substance use disorders, eating disorders, depression, and suicidal behavior.

Reach out to California Prime Recovery today if you or a loved one are struggling with addiction and could benefit from dialectical behavior therapy. We’re here to help.

What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)?

DBT is essentially a package that uses selected cognitive and behavioral therapeutic techniques. DBT was developed specifically to meet the challenges of borderline personality disorder. The psychologist who developed DBT, Marsha Linehan, found that borderline personality disorder made patients especially sensitive to criticism and emotional distress. As a result, they felt alienated by established cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which emphasizes changing thoughts and behaviors. Patients who felt criticized or invalidated were more likely to drop out of treatment.

What distinguishes DBT from CBT is that DBT emphasizes acceptance of challenging emotions as part of the process and helps clients better tolerate that emotional distress. Whereas a therapist using CBT might directly challenge a client’s feelings resulting from a cognitive distortion, a DBT therapist might be willing to validate those feelings and focus on productive ways to handle them.

How Does DBT Work?

Standard DBT treatment consists of one hour of individual therapy per week and one and a half to two hours of group skills training per week. DBT therapists also consult on how to provide the best treatment.

DBT focuses on the assumption that biology influences how we experience emotions. People sensitive to strong emotions are often not taught how to manage them. Therefore, a significant component of DBT is teaching people how to recognize, understand, and regulate their emotions. Therapists need to teach clients how to manage strong emotions.

Mindfulness is another vital skill taught as part of DBT. It improves distress tolerance. Rather than trying to avoid or suppress unpleasant emotions, you learn to accept them. Second, mindfulness keeps you focused on what’s happening at the moment.

Finally, DBT group work focuses on interpersonal effectiveness. People who struggle with borderline personality disorder often misinterpret the motivations of others and react inappropriately. Therefore, practicing how to interact with others in the face of strong emotions is a valuable skill for anyone with borderline personality disorder. However, interpersonal effectiveness is a vital skill for everyone. Better interpersonal skills strengthen relationships and reduce friction. Practicing these skills in the safe environment of group therapy is a great way to improve.

Benefits of DBT

Dialectical behavior therapy is effective in helping people recover from addiction. Dialectical behavior therapy can help you:

Find Out If You Could Benefit from DBT at California Prime Recovery

We offer a safe, nurturing, and healing space for men and women to find recovery from the multifaceted disease of addiction. Our team believes in inspiring clients to face their challenges, discover the root of their problems, and reclaim their lives. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, call us today or contact us through our admissions page.

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Alyssa Mueller


Alyssa Mueller is an Associate Clinical Social Worker. She holds a Master of Social Work with a concentration in Community Mental Health from California State University of Fullerton as well as a Bachelors of Arts in Communication Studies with an emphasis on intercultural and interpersonal communication from California State University of Long Beach. Compassion, empowerment and unconditional positive regard are the foundations of her clinical practice, Alyssa has a passion for helping others and her priority is to hold space for clients to feel heard, to feel safe and to find fulfillment and self-love on their recovery journey. Alyssa specializes in addiction treatment, self-esteem building, mindfulness practices, grief and loss, trauma informed care, and self-compassion as well as individual and family therapy. She has extensive experience working with high risk populations in various clinical settings such as partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient care, outpatient treatment, schools, and community outreach. Alyssa uses a client centered and holistic approach to address the client as a whole person in order to help them to feel empowered and facilitate their confidence and independence.

Charee Marquez

LMFT - Clinical Director

Charee has worked in the recovery field for 10 years.Charee is dedicated to supporting and inspiring clients to live a healthy lifestyle filled with meaning and purpose.Charee has extensive clinical experience within the recovery field in both inpatient and outpatient settings.She specializes in working with individuals and families affected by the disease of addiction however she has also clinical experience in assisting individuals,couples and families in working through a variety of concerns,including: depression,anxiety,relationship & communication issues,substance abuse,grief & loss,trauma, life transitions, and many others.Charee works with each client to specialize their treatment plan with what works best for the client in a compassionate and effective way. She emphasizes the strength of every individual client and fosters an environment of personal growth and internal healing from a mind, body and spiritual approach.Charee received her Bachelor of Arts from Seton Hall University, Majoring in Psychology and Minoring in Women and Gender Studies, in addition to her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Southern California.

Stephen Carmel

Founder & CEO

I began my journey to recovery back in 2011 when I moved to California from New York.Along wiht my recovery and beginning a new way of life,I began to develop a heart for others struffling with sobriety.My journey to California was filled with many trials and lessons learned, but most of all, personal growht.I truly believe i would not have found success if I didn’t come to California.I started CPR as a way to work with people in recovery on a daily basis and it evolved into something much more beautiful. I have also come to realize that my own personal happiness and recovery depends on being involved in the lives of people in recovery. Helping others recover is a cornerstone of many 12 step programs, as it is here. Giving back to those still suffering, is the only way not to lose what you have gained. It is the paradox that we live by every day.