Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a complex cognitive-behavioral treatment designed for a population with multiple problematic and high-risk behaviors. As with any behavioral treatment, the role of assessment in DBT is critical. Although there is a significant body of research supporting the efficacy of DBT, there is a relative dearth of practical and principle-based information that help therapists formulate cases and treatment from a DBT perspective. In this article, we provide a step-by-step guide for creating an assessment-driven DBT case formulation and treatment plan. We focus on identifying stage of treatment, determining goals, developing the target hierarchy, assessing and treating the primary target behavior, and tracking outcomes. We highlight the few rules that inform DBT assesssment and practice, note and correct several common misconceptions, and demonstrate how the use of thorough assessment can result in a more nuanced case formulation and treatment plan.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Psychology
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy
- borderline personality disorder
- case formulation
- treatment planning