We are excited to offer a comprehensive Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Program for teenagers and their families starting September 1, 2021 (waitlist open now).

What is DBT?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy is an evidence-based program of therapy for teenagers experiencing strong up-and-down emotions, suicidal thinking and self-harm. Often these teenagers have trouble benefitting from other therapy. A comprehensive DBT program is designed to provide an intensive outpatient therapy experience to support teenagers in stopping harmful behaviours and developing their “life worth living.”

What does the “Dialectical” part mean?

Dialectical thinking is a method for helping people change. From this perspective, change occurs through a synthesis of opposites. This is particularly helpful for individuals with strong emotions who may have trouble with “all or nothing” thinking when upset. It’s also very helpful when teens have a very different wish than parents (e.g., spending time with a friend that parents don’t want them to spend time with, using their phone at times when parents are worried it will interfere with their growth and happiness). Problems like these are worked out by acknowledging and respecting both perspectives and “walking the middle path” (e.g., parents can help their teen join other groups and find other activities to develop new friendships, teen will be able to use the phone at these times on certain days of the week and not others). The primary dialectic in DBT is acceptance and change. Meaning that both are integral to successful therapy. Everyone is doing the best they can AND everyone can do better, try harder.

What does “Behaviour” have to do with it?

Everything! The main goal of DBT is to have patients and their families learn how to control their own behaviour so that they can get what they want from others and can live the life they want. Therapists use traditional behavioural therapy techniques to reward effective behaviours and have consequences for ineffective behaviors. However, this is done from a place of warmth, acceptance and caring. DBT therapists are always working on their own behavior, also. The goal is to have everyone working as a team to provide support for patients in the program to change those behaviours that are causing them the most problems.

What does the Comprehensive DBT Program Involve?

  • Weekly individual therapist with a trained DBT therapist
    • Therapists work with your child to establish safety (from suicide and other risky behaviours), build healthy relationships and change behaviors that are seriously affecting their lives
  • Weekly multi-family group
    • Several families meet together weekly with two trained therapists to learn DBT skills
    • DBT skills modules are: Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotion Regulation, Interpersonal Effectiveness and Walking the Middle Path
    • Parents are asked to join their children in learning skills to help the whole family support their child’s journey to mental health (and learn some great skills in the meantime!)
  • Phone coaching
    • Your child will have access to their therapist by phone at pre-specified times of day
    • The goal of coaching is to help your child learn to use skills in the many emotional moments that happen outside of a therapy session

  • DBT consultation team
    • Every therapist on our DBT team participates in a weekly consultation team meeting with the other DBT therapists
    • This team meeting provides the necessary support and consultation for therapists with the goal of giving your child and your family the most evidence based, compassionate and timely care
  • Parent therapy and coaching is offered when needed and available

The DBT program is 6 months to 1 year long, depending on how quickly your child responds to the program. Six months is the shortest possible time, many patients continue for one full year.

You’ll find more about DBT here:


DBT at Sageview Health

We will offer a comprehensive DBT program for ages 13-18.

All of our therapists will have intensive or foundational training from Behavioral Tech or will be supervised by someone who has.

Meet our team members:

Dr. Jessica Flynn, Ph.D., C.Pscyh
Dr. Cheryl Fernandes Ph.D. C.Psych.
Dr. Shawn Wilson, Ph.D., C.Psych
Dr. Nirvana Maharaj, Psy.D, C.Psych
Nida Yousuf, M.S.Ed., C.Psych.Assoc.

Interested? Check call the clinic at 905.814.8200 or email [email protected] for more information or to register.