Dr. Marsha Linehan, creator of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), has developed a valuable DVD that illustrates how impactful the DBT approach can be when working with clients who present with challenging issues (e.g., suicidality, borderline personality disorder). Dr. Linehan explains the basics of DBT while demonstrating and describing this unique approach in a clear and concise way. This DVD is designed to help the viewer understand the key components of this efficacious treatment modality.

DBT is a comprehensive multidiagnostic treatment. To help viewers understand the foundational components of the DBT approach, Dr. Linehan discusses the four basic stages: (1) helping clients struggling with behaviors that may be life-threatening (e.g., suicidality) or that may interfere with their quality of life (e.g., loss of relationships), in order to gain control of such behaviors; (2) focusing on emotional experiencing to reduce traumatic stress; (3) helping clients take ownership of their behaviors and establish trust in themselves; and (4) achieving mindfulness/spirituality with focus on transcendence and building a capacity for joy. Dr. Linehan further enhances this valuable information with an illustration of a behavioral assessment with a challenging client. While observing Dr. Linehan’s interactions with the client in this video, the viewer can see how a thorough behavioral assessment contributes to each of the basic stages of DBT. Dr. Linehan pauses intermittently throughout the video to describe the process of her work, which allows the viewer to comprehend ways to apply DBT to their practice.

The dialectical piece of DBT refers to the balance of opposites: the need for one to change, but also to accept the way he or she is. Dr. Linehan believes that everything in the universe is connected, even both sides of opposites. In this video, she helps the client identify where the truth lies in both ends of opposition. While she hones in on the client’s perception of reality and validates his experience, she also helps him identify alternative perceptions of reality. Mismatches in perceptions are identified and linked to the client’s life challenges, which helps him gain a better understanding of the world around him and the need for behavior modification. Utilizing an assertive yet empathic approach, Dr. Linehan validates the client’s desire not to change, while also challenging this perspective in order to help increase his insight and desire to change. By observing the demonstration in this video, counselors can learn valuable ways to approach clients presenting with challenging issues and diagnoses, and gain a basic understanding of the DBT approach.

In addition to this informative DVD, the viewer receives an instructor’s manual by Katie Read, MFT, filled with useful content (e.g., tips for making the best of the DVD, summary of the DBT approach, discussion questions, related websites, suggestions for additional videos and further reading, etc.). Overall, this DVD is informative, helping the viewer form a clear understanding of the DBT approach. This DVD is ideal for both novice and seasoned counselors working with clients who present with challenging issues and diagnoses and who need to establish and maintain healthy behavior modification.


Reviewed by: Kristina Nelson, doctoral student, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida.

Psychotherapy.net (Producer), & Yalom, V. (Director). (2013). Three Approaches to Personality Disorders: Dialectical Behavioral Therapy with Marsha Linehan, PhD [DVD and video streaming]. Available from http://www.psychotherapy.net/video/dialectical-behavior-therapy-linehan

Available in DVD and streaming format as part of video subscription at Psychotherapy.net/subscriptions.


The Professional Counselor