Takeaway: Dialectical behaviour therapy, or DBT therapy, is an evidence-based approach that can help people with a wide range of mental health issues. If you struggle with regulating your emotions and have challenges in your relationships, you might benefit from this type of therapy. Get started with one of our Toronto DBT therapists today.

Have you ever felt like your emotions are an untamed storm, making life’s challenges feel overwhelming and unmanageable? If so, you’re not alone. Many of us have faced moments of emotional turmoil, and in those times, finding the right support can be a game-changer.

If you’re seeking answers about how to regain control over your intense emotions, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) might be the lifeline you’ve been searching for. At The Therapy Centre, we understand your journey, and we’re here to guide you toward a brighter, more emotionally balanced future.

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Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is a structured and evidence-based psychotherapy designed to help individuals improve emotional regulation, manage distress, and build healthier relationships. It was originally developed by Dr. Marsha M. Linehan to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD), but it has since been adapted for various emotional and behavioural issues. Here’s a simplified overview of how DBT works:

Individual Therapy: You work one-on-one with a trained therapist to set goals, develop coping strategies, and explore your specific challenges.

Four Key Modules: DBT is structured around four core modules, each focusing on specific skills:

  1. Mindfulness: This module emphasizes being fully present in the moment, without judgment. Mindfulness skills help you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and reactions.
  2. Emotion Regulation: You’ll learn to identify and manage your emotions, reduce impulsive behaviours, and increase emotional resilience.
  3. Distress Tolerance: This module provides strategies to endure and cope with distressing situations without resorting to harmful behaviours. It teaches crisis survival techniques.
  4. Interpersonal Effectiveness: These skills improve communication, assertiveness, and relationship-building. They teach you how to navigate conflicts and set boundaries effectively.

Validation and Dialectics: DBT therapists emphasize validation, acknowledging the client’s experiences and emotions without judgment. This promotes a sense of acceptance and trust. Dialectics are at the core of DBT, encouraging clients to find the balance between opposing viewpoints and helping them see the gray areas in life rather than just black and white.

Homework and Skill Practice: Clients are typically assigned homework to practice skills learned in therapy. Consistent practice is essential for developing and integrating these skills into daily life.

Progress Monitoring: Clients and therapists collaboratively track progress toward treatment goals. This continuous assessment ensures that therapy remains effective and adaptive to changing needs.

Commitment to Therapeutic Alliance: The relationship between the client and therapist is crucial in DBT. Therapists provide a balance of support and challenge, creating a safe space for clients to explore their difficulties and grow.

5 DBT Therapists in Toronto Ready for Hire

Marlene Almeida

1. Marlene Almeida, MSW, RSW

  • Registered Social Worker
  • License number: 827206
  • Teletherapy or in-person
  • Marlene Almeida is a Registered Social Worker who received her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Toronto, specializing in mental health. She currently works supporting individuals (ages 16+) who are living with anxiety, depression, stress, low self-esteem, emotional dysregulation, interpersonal issues, and relationship issues. Marlene is particularly interested in supporting Transitional Age Youth and post-secondary students navigating life transitions. Marlene utilizes a variety of evidence-based therapeutic approaches tailored to the individual needs of her clients. She has training in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Solution Focused Therapy (SFT), Trauma Informed Therapy and mindfulness-based approaches.

Dr. Satinder Brar, Clinical Psychologist in Oakville and Virtually

2. Dr. Satinder Brar, C.Psych.

  • Clinical Psychologist
  • License number: 7540
  • Teletherapy or in-person counselling
  • Dr. Satinder Brar completed her Master’s degree and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.) at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Illinois. She has been trained in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and incorporates aspects of emotion-focused and acceptance-based strategies into treatment. Additionally, she is interested in helping clients work through complex trauma, including childhood sexual abuse, using Dialectical Behaviour Therapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (DBT-PTSD). Dr. Brar currently provides assessment and counselling services to adults.

Samantha Daskaluk

3. Dr. Samantha Daskaluk, C.Psych. 

  • Clinical Psychologist
  • License number: 7390
  • Teletherapy or in-person
  • Dr. Samantha Daskaluk obtained her M.A. and Ph.D. in Child Clinical Psychology at the University of Windsor. Her research focused on young women’s experiences with cybersexual and dating aggression and how it impacts their mental health and relationships. Sam provides assessment and treatment services to children, adolescents, and parents. She has trained in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), and child-focused therapies. She also incorporates aspects of Emotion-Focused Skills Training (EFST) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) into treatment. Sam works with children and adolescents experiencing various mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, trauma, emotion dysregulation, OCD, ADHD, aggression, body image issues, perfectionism, sleep therapy and others.

Oakville Registered Social Worker Anna Kozelsky

4. Anna Kozelsky, MSW, RSW

  • Registered Social Worker
  • License number: 822781
  • Teletherapy or in-person
  • Anna Kozelsky is a Registered Social Worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. She completed her Master of Social Work degree at the University of Toronto, specializing in mental health. Anna has supported individuals with a range of concerns and mental health challenges, including stress, trauma, substance use, depression, anxiety, relationship difficulties, and self-esteem issues. She uses evidence-based modalities, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), Psychodynamic Therapy and mindfulness-based interventions. Anna has a keen interest in trauma and developmental trauma and has also been trained in Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) and Cognitive Processing Therapy, which have been shown to be very effective in the treatment of trauma.

Ashley Petrie, Registered Social Worker in Oakville and Virtually at The Therapy Centre

5. Ashley Petrie, MSW, RSW

  • Registered Social Worker
  • License number: 839189
  • Teletherapy or in-person
  • Ashley Petrie is a Registered Social Worker who received her Master of Social Work degree from Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU). Ashley works with children, adolescents, adults and parents experiencing a variety of issues, including anxiety, depression, stress, grief, self-esteem, life transitions, perfectionism, parenting challenges, as well as school and behavioural issues. She has a special interest in supporting women during the perinatal period through loss, pregnancy, and postpartum. Specifically, she has specialized training in perinatal mental health care, postpartum mood and anxiety disorders, pregnancy and infant loss, birth trauma, and parenting support. She has training in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), Emotion Focused Family Therapy (EFFT), and mindfulness-based approaches.

Why choose The Therapy Centre for Dialectical Behaviour Therapy in Toronto

At The Therapy Centre, we pride ourselves on our team of diverse and highly qualified therapists. Our practitioners have extensive experience in various therapeutic approaches and specialize in addressing multiple mental health problems. Here are a few more reasons you might want to choose The Therapy Centre:

  • Client-centred Approach: We believe in the power of a client-centred therapeutic approach, where your unique needs, goals, and concerns are at the forefront of our sessions. Our therapists work collaboratively with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that aligns with your objectives and values.
  • Flexible and Convenient Location: Our clinicians have offices across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area, and all offer both in-person and virtual sessions, ensuring you can easily fit sessions into your schedule.
  • Varied Treatment Modalities: The Therapy Centre provides a range of evidence-based therapeutic modalities, including Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and more. This diversity allows us to tailor our services to your specific needs.
  • Multiple therapy options: We have a full-service team of highly qualified specialists. New clients seeking a registered psychologist, psychotherapist, social worker, or dietitian may all find support through The Therapy Centre.
  • Empathetic and Supportive Environment: Our therapists are known for creating a safe space that is non-judgemental and empathetic, where clients can openly explore their thoughts and emotions. We believe in fostering a therapeutic relationship built on trust and confidentiality.

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When The Therapy Centre might not be the best fit for you

While The Therapy Centre offers comprehensive care, there are situations where our services might not be the best fit:

  • You are looking for free psychotherapy.
  • You live outside of Ontario.
  • If you require highly specialized treatment or interventions outside our therapists’ areas of expertise, you may need to consider other practitioners or facilities.
  • While our locations are central, it may not be convenient for individuals living outside of the GTA.
  • If you are experiencing a severe mental health crisis or have suicidal thoughts, seeking immediate help through a crisis hotline, emergency services, or a hospital is crucial.

FAQs about DBT therapy in Toronto

What is DBT therapy used to treat?

DBT therapy can be a valuable tool for individuals dealing with a variety of issues, such as:

  • Borderline Personality Disorder: Originally designed for this purpose, DBT remains an effective treatment for managing the intense emotions and instability associated with this condition.
  • Self-Harm and Suicidal Behaviours: DBT equips individuals with skills to reduce self-destructive behaviours and cultivate a more positive outlook on life.
  • Eating disorders: Eating disorders like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder are complex conditions that often involve intense emotional and behavioural challenges. These disorders frequently co-occur with other mental health conditions, and individuals may engage in disordered eating behaviours as a way of coping with emotional distress.
  • Substance Abuse: By enhancing emotion regulation, DBT can support individuals in overcoming substance use disorders.
  • Mood Disorders: It also effectively treats mood disorders like depression and bipolar disorder, helping individuals manage their emotional responses.
  • Interpersonal Difficulties: DBT equips individuals with tools to improve relationships and communication, ultimately leading to healthier connections.

Is DBT therapy worth it?

The effectiveness of DBT therapy is well-established, making it a worthwhile option for many. Studies have shown that DBT can significantly improve emotion regulation, reduce self-harming behaviours, and enhance overall well-being. It’s particularly beneficial for those who have struggled with conventional therapies and are looking for a more structured approach.

Which therapy is better, CBT or DBT?

The choice between Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and DBT depends on individual needs. CBT focuses on identifying and challenging negative thought patterns, while DBT places a stronger emphasis on emotional regulation and interpersonal skills. Some clients might benefit from a combination of both. At The Therapy Centre, our experienced therapists can help you determine the most appropriate therapy for your specific needs.

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Get grounded with the help of Toronto DBT therapy

Choosing the right therapy and therapy provider is a significant step in your journey toward improved mental health and a more meaningful life. Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) has proven effective for various conditions, and The Therapy Centre can provide the expert support you need to thrive. We are a full-service practice that works with children, teens, adults, seniors, couples and families. We are comprised of dedicated clinicians with extensive professional training, including psychologists, registered social workers, psychotherapists, and a dietitian.

Our offices are located across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area, at 2525 Old Bronte Road in Oakville, 849 Upper Wentworth Street in Hamilton, and in Toronto at 1849 Yonge St (Yonge and Davisville). We offer both in-person and Virtual Telehealth services, including secure phone sessions and videoconferencing. 

Contact our team today at (289) 291-0205 or info@thetherapycentre.ca