DBT Stories

Shannon, Connecticut, USA

Six weeks into my first round of DBT classes, I experienced a single moment when I was fully conscious that my “skills” prevented me from acting on a serious “problem behavior.” I was tired and irritable already, and then my son threw a typical toddler tantrum at the kitchen table. I know that I came a split second too close to lashing out by hitting him. My therapist knows that this has always been my greatest fear: that my son could be subject to my temper the way I was victim to my father’s rages.

Continue reading “Shannon, Connecticut, USA”

Lisa, Sweden

I lived a life with constant anxiety, restless, and very destructive: anorexia, self harming, drinking, drugs, various pills, lots of sexual encounters; but I also managed to get my nursing degree, stay at my job and do well. Life was high and low; I keep most of my destructive life a secret, and I did that well. Continue reading “Lisa, Sweden”

Anonymous, Brazil

Last night, I exposed myself to a situation of living with certain people that I was not prepared [for] emotionally yet, because they are people who have disappointed me very recently. As I was coming at a good time, I thought that I could, but, actually, I really could not. Because these people still could not apologize and I do not know if they think they should. Anyway, I ended up quite sad and had a kind of emotional “relapse.”

Continue reading “Anonymous, Brazil”


I have received DBT treatment myself. I also have a teenage son receiving DBT (real DBT that is…), and my husband and I are in the multi-family skills group with him. My son has Major Depression, ADHD, and Oppositional Defiant Disorder.

I received treatment [August] 2013 to present ([January] 2016). My current therapist says I am no longer diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. I also take meds for ADHD….for inattention due to emotional intensity. I take meds for depression and both meds are working beautifully (I’m an anti-meds person, but during the desperately upsetting times when my son and the hospitals were so unsupportive I was a mess, and so I went on meds which helped immensely, despite wonderful DBT. The combination of both meds and DBT helped so much in my case). Continue reading “Anonymous”

Jill Sundheim, Texas, USA

Many people take for granted waking up every morning knowing who they are, going to a steady job, and having positive relationships with family, co-workers and friends. I can now count myself as one of those people. At age 62, I consider this to be the miracle I thought was never going to happen. The book I am writing, Building a Self; My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder, describes how I found my way past borderline functioning.

Continue reading “Jill Sundheim, Texas, USA”

Emily, Washington, USA

I am currently teaching a DBT skills group at my clinic. I have been using the skills myself so that I can demonstrate them for the group. I have been specifically practicing mindfulness.

I noticed that there are very few options for taking a DBT class/group in my community. In fact, there are few DBT classes available in the county. Some of the places that do offer groups require that you attend their facility for counseling as well as the group. While I understand this, most of my clients do not have private insurance and cannot afford the full costs (or even sliding scale costs) to take the course. That is why I decided to enroll in the Behavioral Tech DBT training and teach a group. I wanted to bring DBT to clients that are of lower socioeconomic status. As these are people that have severe mental health issues and typically are unable to pay for private treatment. It is my goal to assist as many clients as I can in learning these extremely helpful skills. Continue reading “Emily, Washington, USA”

Marja Bergen, Vancouver, Canada

I’m 70 years old and have lived with Bipolar Type 1 disorder for 50 years. Last year my sensitive nature brought an additional diagnosis – features of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). A more accurate description of this condition is Emotional Dysregulation. It’s an illness that involves strong emotion.

Continue reading “Marja Bergen, Vancouver, Canada”

Melanie, South Wales, UK

My life was very erratic, suicide attempts and suicidal ideations, for many years. I was hospitalised either on a voluntary basis or, more often than not, detained under the Mental Health Act. I literally went from one crisis to another. I couldn’t cope with personal life, my mind was in a constant turmoil, I ruminated about the past, and catastrophised about the future; my favourite statements were “what if” and “I can’t.” I found it difficult to manage to hold down a job, which was important as I have my own home and was trying to be self-reliant.

Continue reading “Melanie, South Wales, UK”

Sonja, Manitoba, Canada

I am currently in month 5 of 6 of DBT. I am in Canada and I got a referral to the psych health hospital (through my GP after a brief psychiatric assessment) for short-term assessment and treatment, which utilized some DBT skills training. I was referred by that short-term program to a formal DBT class (two hours per week of training for six months, with no individual therapy appointments; it is a pilot project of the outpatient department in the psych health hospital).

Continue reading “Sonja, Manitoba, Canada”

Lindsay, Ohio, USA

I was in counseling for 11 years straight and needed it even longer. I tried everything and nothing worked for any length of time. Then I was hospitalized, I was tired of seeing different therapists and trying yet another medication. I had given up hope that anything would work. I [saw] myself as broken and unfixable. Then I found DBT! DBT literally saved my life.

I started comprehensive DBT a couple years ago. I was shocked the changes I was able to make. A little after one round of DBT, my therapist and I recognized how much my life had changed. Continue reading “Lindsay, Ohio, USA”


I was extremely lucky to find a partial hospitalization with DBT professionals when I was released from inpatient stay. I am lucky to live in [a city where I] found skills groups and DBT therapists. DBT was the only treatment that worked (with discovering the proper medication) when I was suicidal four years ago. I continued DBT for another almost 2 years and am currently in DBT.

Continue reading “Lynn”

Sadie, Utah, United States

I was always struggling with self harm, suicidal ideation, bulimia, and didn’t ever fully receive the type of treatment I needed until I went to Utah State Hospital. Before the hospital, it was hard for me to find the right type of treatment that I really needed to help me get better. When I went to the Utah State Hospital, I attended their intensive DBT group 8 hours a week off and on for 3 years.

Continue reading “Sadie, Utah, United States”

Jasmine, Australia

Ever since I was a child, since I could remember, I was different. I suffered intensely just living. I had no family support, thus I sought help for myself after leaving home at 17 years of age. I was put on a cocktail of medications to treat severe depressive disorder, bipolar, social anxiety, PTSD, OCD, and more. Regardless of the regular therapy appointments and medication, I was still very unwell and was essentially waiting to die. At 34, I overdosed and found myself in the psychiatric emergency ward. It was there that I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. I had an answer that truly fit.

Continue reading “Jasmine, Australia”

DBT Changes Lives – Video

“I would tell people who are at the end and in a very dark place to get into skills training right now. It’s not going to be as hard or scary as you think, and you have a whole life to live. There’s a lot of fun to be had out there. Don’t let this stop you. Don’t cut on yourself and don’t commit suicide. I’ve had a lot of fun. I’ve had a lot of fun! I would have missed out. Go get some skills and empower yourself. Empower yourself, because you can do it.”

Anonymous, Missouri, USA

I found out about DBT in 2000 when I researched treatment options shortly after I was diagnosed with BPD. However, I wasn’t able to get into standard DBT until I was civilly committed and transferred into an inpatient DBT program at Fulton State Hospital in 2008. I had two therapists try non-standard DBT (no consult team, no skills group, non-adherent coaching) with me before that, with disastrous results. I lost jobs, got kicked out of school, was in and out of hospitals and emergency rooms, and almost killed myself along the way.

Continue reading “Anonymous, Missouri, USA”