Below Essentia Health Australia has provided the answers to a range of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). Should you have further questions please contact our staff at our head office in Melbourne who will assist you further!


What is Dialectical Behaviour Therapy?

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is a type of psychotherapy (sometimes called “talking therapy”) for Borderline Personality Disorder. DBT is a cognitive behavioural therapy, meaning it is a therapy that focuses on the role of cognition (e.g., thoughts and beliefs) and behaviours (e.g., actions) in the development and the treatment of BPD. DBT includes some changes to the traditional cognitive behavioural elements of therapy in order to help specifically reduce the symptoms of Emotion Dysregulation and Borderline Personality Disorder.


Is there a Theoretical Basis to Dialectical Behaviour Therapy?

Our programs are based on Dr. Marsha Linehan’s theory that the core problem in BPD is emotion dysregulation, resulting from mixing biology (e.g., genetic and other biological risk factors) and an emotionally unstable childhood environment (e.g., where caregivers punish, trivialise or respond erratically to a child’s expression of emotion) together. The focus of DBT is on helping individuals learn and apply skills that will decrease emotion dysregulation and unhealthy attempts to cope with strong emotions.


What should I expect in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy? 

Usually, DBT includes a combination of group skills training, individual psychotherapy and phone coaching, although there are exceptions. Individuals in DBT are asked to monitor their symptoms and use of learned skills daily, while their progress is tracked throughout therapy.


Does Research Support Dialectical Behaviour Therapy?

DBT was the first psychotherapy shown to be effective in treating Emotion Dysregulation in controlled clinical trials (the most rigorous type of clinical research). While DBT is not the only therapy to have shown effectiveness in controlled trials, it has grown a large evidence base and is considered one of the best treatments for BPD in terms of documented success rates.


Do I need to have a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder?

No! Dialectical Behaviour Therapy was originally developed for individuals with a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. Over the past couple of decades evidence has emerged to support the application of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy to a wider range of individuals including individuals with Emotion Dysregulation, Youth, Eating Disorders, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and more!


What do Essentia's DBT programs cover?

Essentia Health Australia's Dialectical Behaviour Therapy programs offer a range of options for individuals suffering from emotion regulation difficulties.

30 Week Adult Programs
Our Adult program offers individuals both individual therapy and a group program which is consistent with the research of Dr. Marsha Linehan who developed Dialectical Behaviour Therapy. Programs are run over three terms in line with each location's school terms.

Group Program Schedule (2 hours once a week)

  • 2 Weeks of Mindfulness Skills
  • 8 Weeks of Distress Tolerance Skills
  • 2 Weeks of Mindfulness Skills
  • 8 Weeks of Emotion Regulation Skills
  • 2 Weeks of Mindfulness Skills
  • 8 Weeks of Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills

16 Week Youth Programs
Our Adult program offers individuals both individual therapy and a group program which is consistent with the research of Dr. Marsha Linehan who developed Dialectical Behaviour Therapy. Programs are run over two terms in line with each location's school terms.

Group Program Schedule (90-120 minutes once a week)

  • 2 Weeks of Middle Path Skills
  • 1 Week of Mindfulness Skills
  • 3 Weeks of Distress Tolerance Skills
  • 1 Week of Mindfulness Skills
  • 3 Weeks of Emotion Regulation Skills
  • 1 Week of Mindfulness Skills
  • 3 Weeks of Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills

Why do Essentia run 30 week and 16 week programs?

The original DBT research was based on a 24 week group program which was delivered along side 24 individual counselling sessions, both which are, delivered on a weekly basis. The research identifies individuals who attend 48 weeks of DBT (completing the program twice) experienced the best outcomes.

Our experience is that some individuals do benefit from 48 weeks of DBT while others benefit just as much from a reduced amount of sessions. We have delivered a range of programs (30 weeks, 24 weeks, 21 weeks, 16 weeks, 12 weeks, and 10 weeks) and believe that a 30 week program to be the most effective for our adult clients and 16 weeks as being the most effective for Youth. The feedback suggests reviewing the modules for two week following each module re-enforces the skills taught.


Are your programs covered by mental health plans and private health insurance?

Yes if you have private health insurance you will need to speak with your provider to see how much of a rebate you receive. Our programs are delivered by Psychologists, Social Workers, Mental Health OT and Mental Health Nurses who may be covered under your existing plan.

Mental Health Plans can cover some components of your DBT treatment. If your GP suggests you would benefit from treatment under a mental health plan he/she can refer you to our program. Rebates are only applicable for 10 sessions of group and individual therapy. Be sure your GP stipulates this in your mental health plan!


I am applying for Victims of Crime funding or have funding under the NDIS, will these organisations cover a DBT program?

The answer is that it will be up to each individual organisation. Previously our clients have requested an invoice to accompany their applications. Essentia will provide a quote on request for eligible clients. Contact our team on 03 9077 9076 to see if our DBT program fits your needs.


Why are programs run in line with school terms?

Our experience is that families are busier during school holiday periods. Attendance for many participants has traditionally been difficult during these times. Balancing child care and family time during school holidays challenges many of us. Participants have provided feedback that breaks in between modules also enable participants to practice skills and enter the next module feeling more energised.

Additionally, skills groups in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy are taught in a classroom type of format. Delivering our groups inside school terms enhances participant experience by following a course like format which includes breaks!


How much does the Essentia DBT Cost?

30 Week Adult Program

  • Full program (Individual Therapy, Group Program & Initial Assessment) $270 per week or $7,200 if paid up front
  • Individual Therapy $200 per session  ($160 with health care card)
  • Group Therapy $100per session ($80 with health care card)
  • Some services may be funded by medicare, private health insurance, WorkCover, Victims of Crime or other health services

16 Week Adult Program

  • Full program (Individual Therapy, Group Program & Initial Assessment) $270 per week or $4,320 if paid up front
  • Individual Therapy $200 per session ($160 with health care card)
  • Group Therapy $100 per session ($80 with health care card)
  • Some services may be funded by medicare, private health insurance, WorkCover, Victims of Crime or other health services

How do I make a referral or register for one of the Essentia DBT Programs?

Simply complete our online referral form at http://dbt.essentiahealth.com.au/dbt-program-referral-form/ or call our call our reception on 03 9077 2096 to make a referral or register for one of our programs.


WHAT SKILLS ARE DEVELOPED IN THE GROUP PROGRAM?

The DBT group supports participants to analyse their behaviour/target problems individually and as a group, identify triggers and vulnerabilities, identify opportunities to manage more effectively and take active steps to change problematic patterns. The key to our DBT groups are that we teach DBT skills in a classroom type format which does not involve processing traumatic or stressful situations.

In our DBT groups, participants are taught techniques such as problem solving and chain analysis to help them assess and address challenging issues in their lives. The group allows exploration of the skill modules of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy. The group will be taught relevant techniques and practice in session to identify and build on skills that they currently have, manage their distress, interpersonal effectiveness and difficult life circumstances.

Core Mindfulness Skills: Learn how to practice mindfulness in your every day life. This session will focus on using skills to balance emotion mind and reasonable mind to achieve wise mind. Participants will practice strategies through roles play and observe and describe skills that will then be able to impart mindfulness as daily practice.

Interpersonal effectiveness skills: Learn effective strategies for asking for what one needs, saying no and coping with conflict. Learn how to analyse a situation and determining goals for interpersonal effectiveness.

Emotion regulation skills: Suicidal behaviours are often behavioural solutions to intolerably painful emotions. Participants learn how to identify the difference between their primary emotion (adaptive and appropriate to the context), and their secondary response (intense shame, anxiety or rage). Participants learn ways of exposing themselves to their primary emotion in a non judgmental atmosphere.

Distress tolerance skills: The ability to tolerate and accept distress is essential. Participants learn how to perceive their own environment without putting demands on it to be different. Participants explore their own experiences of their emotional states without attempting to change it, and to observe their own thoughts and action patterns without attempting to stop or control them.


WHAT IS INDIVIDUAL THERAPY?

Individual Therapy is part of a comprehensive DBT and its application to youth, families & adult populations provides the best results in the engagement and retention of clients to complete a DBT program. Our therapists have advanced knowledge in specific principles and strategies relevant to DBT skills training and coaching with youth and families, individual therapy, family sessions, and managing communication and coaching outside of session (e.g. phone calls, emails, texts, etc.). Within individual therapy, specific attention will be paid to teaching the skills of dialectics, validation, and behaviour change (“Middle Path”).

Therapists work with participants one on one to learn to balance active problem solving with validating the client’s current emotional state and behavioural responses. Session blend a ‘matter‐of‐fact’, irreverent attitude towards current and previous dysfunctional behaviours with warmth, flexibility and responsiveness to each participant and individuals close to participants. Our clinicians explore ways to influence behaviour and how to actively avoid threatening situations.

Validation: Is a core skill of clinicians within DBT. The in‐depth practice of validating the participant’s thoughts, feelings and actions is utlilised in both group and individual sessions. Participants learn to search for the grain of wisdom or truth in personal responses and know how to communicate that to to themselves and others. The emphasis here is on building and maintaining a positive, interpersonal, collaborative relationship between participants, their therapists and other significant individuals in their lives.

Format and organisation of individual sessions: DBT has a specific structure for individual sessions and provide clinicians and participants with a structure to stay on task. Participants learn how to use diary cards to maximise success of a session and utilisation of skills outside sessions. Participants learn to manage issues that come up in session in a timely manner and how to conduct chain analysis of problem behaviours.


WHAT IS THE INTAKE PROCESS?

New participants will need to attend an assessment approximately 2 weeks prior to starting a group to determine suitability and timing of intake. Known participants will need to discuss entry with their individual therapist. Participants can commence group at the mindfulness module (at the start of each term commencing February, April, June or October).

Simply complete our online referral form at http://dbt.essentiahealth.com.au/dbt-program-referral-form/ or call our call our reception on 03 9077 2096 to make a referral or register for one of our programs.