choose DBT California

The Reason We Exist

Why people choose DBT California: We were founded in 2008 at Dr. Marsha Linehan’s request (the developer of DBT) to provide high quality Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) services in Southern California (Los Angeles, Orange County, etc.). Since our founder, Dr. McFarr, had already established the most well known DBT program in Southern California (at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center), had coordinated an intensive training with Behavioral Tech (the official DBT training organization), and was a published author on DBT, Dr. Linehan was confident that she would create a program that would provide comprehensive, high-fidelity DBT.

Four Components of a DBT Program

In order for a program to call itself DBT, it is required to provide four components: individual therapy, group skills training, in-between session coaching, and a weekly consultation team for the therapists. When selecting a DBT program, if the program does not require all four of these components, it cannot be called DBT.

Adaptations to DBT (individual only, skills only, no skills coaching, etc) have not been well studied. The studies that have been done suggest that although skills training with intensive case management can be beneficial, it is not superior to standard DBT. Likewise, individual DBT therapy alone (without the skills component) is inferior to standard DBT. Often people choose to enter DBT at times of high distress, and the outcome of the treatment is of the utmost importance (sometimes life or death), so please select intensively trained clinicians who are delivering DBT as it was designed to be delivered.

DBT California also offers Cognitive Therapy (CBT), Cognitive Behavioral Analysis System of Psychotherapy (CBASP), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for the greater Los Angeles and Orange County Areas. With offices in Los Angeles/Beverly Hills, Orange County/ Newport Beach, and South Bay/Torrance. DBT California offices are convenient to the West Side, Beach Towns, Downtown, Hollywood, South Bay, and Orange County.



Choose DBT California

  • We Are A Team of Expert Clinicians and Scholars

    A Team of Expert Clinicians and Scholars

    The treatment team at DBT California are a team of clinicians and scholars; an intensively trained team who utilize treatments that have scientific data to support their efficacy.  We stay current with research findings and trainings, routinely conduct and attend trainings and are leaders and contributors to the scientific research and learning community.

  • How do I choose a good DBT program?

    How do I choose a good DBT program?

    Choosing a DBT program can be especially difficult. Not only do you want someone caring and compassionate, you also want a program that provides the most effective treatment available. Nationally recognized DBT experts have prepared a checklist to aid in this process. It can be located here. People choose DBT California because we meet or exceed the recommendations on the checklist. The answers are below.


    Is your team intensively trained by experts?

    We are intensively trained DBT experts ourselves, who are entrusted by universities including UCLA, USC and UCI to train other clinicians how to do DBT. Our staff has published papers on DBT and have trained and presented research on DBT internationally. Please see our presentations and publications here.

    Are you on a DBT Consultation Team? If yes, what percentage of your DBT team has been intensively/comprehensively trained by a recognized DBT expert?

    Yes, our consultation team meets weekly. 100% of our team has been intensively/comprehensively trained by DBT experts.

    Do your patients complete diary cards?

    All patients enrolled in the DBT program complete weekly Diary Cards.

    Have your DBT cases been supervised by a recognized DBT expert? If yes, has your
    supervisor listened to audio/video recordings of your sessions?

    Yes, all clinicians have been trained, supervised and had sessions evaluated by experts.

    Have you completed any of the BTECH DBT online courses ( or participated in the DBT Track of PracticeGround (

    Our clinicians routinely subscribe to trainings on Btech and Practice Ground. Additionally, many of our team attend the ISITDBT conference every year from updates on research and clinical workshops. Drs McFarr, Orris, Schneider, and Wendy Morgan all serve on the Program Committee for ISITDBT.

    Do you routinely audio/video record your DBT individual therapy sessions and does your DBT Team listen to and critique each other’s sessions to make sure you are doing adherent therapy?

    Yes. Our team routinely tapes sessions, particularly for clinicians still under supervision. Tapes are discussed in supervision and consult team.

    Are you a DBT Certified Clinician through the DBT-Linehan Board of Certification? (see If no, do you intend to apply? When?

    Dr. McFarr serves on one of the DBT Certification committees. The certification process is relatively new so very few clinicians have been certified yet.  DBTC clinicians will pursue certification once the process is well established.

    Do you offer all of the following elements of comprehensive DBT?

    a. DBT individual therapy
    b. DBT skills training class
    c. DBT Consultation Team and
    d. Phone Consultation

    We do! Please feel free to contact us here with any questions.

  • We Offer Comprehensive Assessment and Treatment Planning

    Comprehensive Assessment and Treatment Planning

    When planning to engage in any type of treatment, whether it be medical, physical, or psychological, it is important to understand the problem you are being treated for, the treatment plan, corresponding scientific evidence to support the treatment plan, and the clinician’s level of expertise with the treatment.

    DBT California does not offer a “one-treatment fits all” approach.  As clinicians and scholars, we engage in a comprehensive assessment process that involves both empirically-based measures as well as subjective interviews to accurately formulate diagnosis and treatment plans.  Our team works to understand your current problems and goals to best frame a treatment plan that is specific to your problems and goals.

    Empirically-based Treatments

    We offer many empirically-based treatments, including: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Analysis System of Psychotherapy (CBASP), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Prolonged Exposure (PE), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), depending on your current symptoms and goals.

    DBT California clinicians also engage in on-going patient monitoring, for tracking symptom reduction in order to ensure effective and timely treatment. Patients in our DBT program complete weekly diary cards. We understand that treatment is an investment both of finances and time, and we work to monitor progress and efficacy to make sure your resources are being utilized effectively.

  • We Offer High-Fidelity Treatment

    Why People Choose DBT California

    People choose DBT California because we are committed to comprehensive and High-Fidelity treatment.  When receiving treatment, it is important to make sure the treatment you are undergoing is within adherence guidelines, to make sure you get an effective “dose.”  For example, you would not want to have half a dose of insulin or chemotherapy when working to fight diabetes or cancer.  Treatment at DBT California has a focus on adherence to the treatment model in order to support your investment in efficacious treatment.

    We offer Adult DBT and Adolescent DBT, within a comprehensive framework, in order to match the treatment adherence that scientific studies have found to be efficacious in symptom reduction.  Our DBT programs include:  individual psychotherapy, group skills training, telephone coaching, with a weekly consultation team meeting for our therapists. Our therapists consult with each other on recordings of sessions to ensure the therapy is being delivered at optimal levels of fidelity.

  • We Have the Ability to Work on Multiple Problems

    Our Clinicians Are Trained in Multiple Treatments for Multiple Problems

    It is often hard to graduate from one treatment and then have to look for a new provider that you trust all over again.  People choose DBT California because our clinicians are trained in multiple treatments for multiple problems, so you are able to retain your therapist as you move to addressing different problems in your life.  For example, many clients graduate from our DBT program after stabilization of acute symptoms, and then continue working with their therapist on problems such as trauma, OCD, or chronic depression.  This helps in retaining a clinician you have built a relationship with if you so desire.

  • We Offer Flexibility with Your Current Needs and Schedule

    DBT California not only offers evening and weekend hours, but also is focused on treatment that helps individuals learn new coping strategies while staying engaged with their current responsibilities.  This outpatient model allows individuals to better navigate life stressors with the support of therapy while they adjust into recovery.  No moving away, no readjustment to life after treatment.  DBT California helps people get the life they want while practicing the skills they are learning and reducing symptoms.  We are also happy to offer services in Spanish to suit your preference.

  • We Have Services for Friends and Family

    Options for Friends and Family

    Often problems have an impact and are reinforced by our relationships.  At DBT California, we have multiple treatment and educational options for both friends and family members.  For example, our adolescent DBT program includes Parent Skills training, to help parents learn skills to best support their teenager while caring effectively for themselves.  We also offer a Friends and Family program for those who have loved ones in DBT (or who may benefit from DBT but are not currently enrolled).  In addition, we can offer couples therapy, family therapy, and services that could extend to an educational or workplace setting.

DBT California is a specialty program offered through CBT California. The DBT California service is focused on providing high-fidelity Dialectical Behavior Therapy, including individual and group therapy, phone coaching, and consultation team for our therapists. As part of our services, DBT California has an adolescent, adult, and friends and family program.

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