Adapting DBT to provide new DBT programs

Rebecca Medway

Rebecca Medway



I am excited to be developing two new DBT programs with DBTBrisbane in 2018.

Throughout my work in DBT I have resisted adapting or changing the model of DBT from the one that has been developed and so thoroughly researched by Marsha Linehan and others around the world. DBT programs that stick to this model have been proven to work and I am only interested in therapy that works for the people that put so much effort in to it.

I feel fortunate to work with colleagues at DBTBrisbane that are so focused on the quality of the program we provide.

So it is pretty exciting that after years of providing standard, adherent, DBT that this year DBTBrisbane is also offering two adaptions to our standard program.

In 2017 I was fortunate to attend training by the developers of these adapted DBT programs and am reassured that these adapted programs have been researched and have a strong evidence base.

Firstly, I went to a four day training by Melanie Harned. Melanie is an experienced DBT therapist practising at the University of Washington in Seattle who was unhappy about the lack of progress that her clients with PTSD were making in traditional DBT treatment. Melanie, along with experts in the area of prolonged exposure and DBT, has developed and researched a protocol for treating PTSD symptoms in Stage 1 of DBT treatment.

I was so excited to participate in this training and excited that DBTBrisbane can now offer its clients DBT-PE (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy – Prolonged Exposure).

The second adaption of DBT that DBTBrisbane began at the end of 2017 came from feedback that we were getting from families of our clients. Families of young people that were doing our program wanted to be more involved and have more support for the whole family as the young person was doing therapy.

The opportunity became available for me to travel to Adelaide to participate in training by Jill Rathus. Jill, and her colleague Alec Miller, had been providing DBT to young people from early on in their careers and have adapted the program to better suit young people and their families.

Anyone who has attended any training with DBT founder Marsha Linehan recently will be aware of how passionate she has become about DBT programs for young people, and having started our DBT- Young People and Families program I certainly share her enthusiasm. 


Rebecca Medway