DBT Client and Therapist Agreements: Setting Expectations for Effective Therapy

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a highly effective form of psychotherapy that focuses on helping individuals manage intense emotions and improve their relationships. DBT is a structured treatment that involves several components, including individual therapy, group skills training, and phone coaching.

One of the key elements of successful DBT therapy is establishing clear client and therapist agreements. These agreements outline the expectations and responsibilities of both the client and therapist. When both parties understand what is expected of them, they can work together more effectively to achieve the desired outcomes.

Here are some important elements of DBT client and therapist agreements:


Confidentiality is a crucial component of any therapy relationship. Clients need to feel safe and secure in their therapy sessions, knowing that what they share will be kept confidential. It is the therapist`s responsibility to explain the limits of confidentiality and what circumstances may require a breach of confidentiality, such as if the client is a danger to themselves or others.

Attendance and Cancellation Policies

DBT therapy involves regular sessions, and attendance is essential for making progress. The therapist should establish clear attendance policies and communicate them to the client. This includes how often sessions will be scheduled, how cancellations are handled, and how missed sessions are addressed.

Homework Assignments

DBT therapy often involves homework assignments, such as practicing mindfulness or using specific communication skills. It is essential for the client to understand the importance of completing these assignments and how they will contribute to their overall progress.

Phone Coaching

DBT therapy includes phone coaching as a component of treatment. This allows clients to receive support and guidance outside of therapy sessions. The therapist should communicate how phone coaching works and the policy for when and how often clients can use this resource.


Effective communication is crucial to the success of DBT therapy. Clients and therapists should agree on how they will communicate outside of sessions, such as via email or text. It is important to establish boundaries and expectations for communication and how quickly responses are expected.


DBT therapy can be incredibly effective in helping individuals manage their emotions and improve their relationships. However, success depends on clear communication and established client and therapist agreements. By setting expectations and responsibilities at the outset of therapy, clients and therapists can work effectively together towards achieving positive outcomes.

Categories : Uncategorized


Nor again is there anyone who loves or pursues or desires to obtain pain of itself, because it is pain, but because occasionally circumstances occur in which toil and pain can procure him.