Adult DBT Duration of Treatment

Timelines Typically Associated With Adult DBT

The total length of time that a client can stay in the DBT program at Trinitas is 2 1/2 years. During that time clients are required to be attending both a DBT group and individual therapy.

Year 1

Clients initially commit to one full year of DBT treatment. This is partially because it takes between eight months and a year to go through the skills group curriculum. It also allows clients to see the fruits of their labor in DBT. Oftentimes during the first six months of treatment, clients experience an increase in symptoms. This is primarily because they are being asked to pay more attention to their emotions and urges before they have learned all of the skills. By staying for at least a year, clients have the opportunity to ride out this storm with the support of the program and get to a more stable, willing, and effective place in their lives.

Option for Additional Time in DBT Skills Group

Once the first year is completed, most clients choose to stay in DBT skills group until they have gone through the curriculum a second time.

Graduate program

Either at the end of the first year or after a client has completed a second round of the curriculum, he/she may join the DBT graduate group. This group is focused on helping clients generalize their skills into their lives, support them while they do trauma work (if necessary), and get them closer to their long term goals. The graduate group allows clients who have already learned the skills to practice them in session with other members, process and discuss current struggles, and solidify their understanding of how to integrate DBT in their lives.


When a client has completed their 2 1/2 years or has decided through discussion with their individual therapist that they have reached their DBT goals, they will graduate from our DBT program. Many clients continue to seek individual therapy from providers outside the program, join peer run support groups, or join other therapeutic groups on the Adult Outpatient Unit at Trinitas. Others do not continue with any formal therapy and get support from their environment only.

Patient Stories

  • I want to tell everyone that I meet, this really does work...

    Read More
  • The Mental Health treatment helped me to deal with the Cancer.

    Read More

Patient Stories

  • Watch Testimonial
  • Watch Testimonial