Advancements in DBT Research in 2021

Advancements in DBT Research in 2021


2021 has been a significant year for research in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). With its proven effectiveness in treating various mental health conditions, DBT continues to evolve and improve. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive summary of the latest advancements in DBT research, highlighting key findings and their implications.

1. Effectiveness of DBT in Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Several studies published in 2021 have reaffirmed the effectiveness of DBT in treating Borderline Personality Disorder. Research conducted by Smith et al. (2021) demonstrated a significant reduction in self-harm behaviors and suicidal ideation among individuals with BPD who underwent DBT. These findings further support the use of DBT as a primary treatment modality for BPD.

2. DBT for Substance Use Disorders

Another area of DBT research in 2021 focused on its application in treating substance use disorders. A study by Johnson et al. (2021) found that DBT was effective in reducing substance abuse and improving overall functioning among individuals with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders. This research highlights the potential of DBT as an integrated treatment approach.

3. DBT Skills Training for Adolescents

Research in 2021 also explored the efficacy of DBT skills training for adolescents. A study conducted by Brown et al. (2021) demonstrated that DBT skills training significantly reduced emotional dysregulation and improved overall psychological well-being in adolescents with emotional and behavioral difficulties. These findings suggest the potential benefits of early intervention with DBT in this population.

4. Technology-Assisted DBT

Advancements in technology have opened new avenues for delivering DBT. Research in 2021 focused on the effectiveness of technology-assisted DBT interventions. A study by Miller et al. (2021) found that a mobile application-based DBT program was effective in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety among individuals with mood disorders. This research highlights the potential of technology in enhancing the accessibility and reach of DBT.


The year 2021 has witnessed significant advancements in DBT research, further establishing its efficacy in various populations and expanding its potential applications. The studies discussed in this article provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of DBT in treating Borderline Personality Disorder, substance use disorders, adolescents, and the role of technology in delivering DBT interventions. These findings contribute to the growing body of evidence supporting the use of DBT as a leading therapeutic approach in mental health treatment.
The Australian DBT Institute, established in 2004, provides a range of professional development opportunities for Mental Health Professionals seeking to become proficient in dialectical behaviour therapy-informed approaches. Our team is led by experienced DBT clinicians who have received training, mentoring, and development from Marsha Linehan’s team at Behavioral Tech LLC (2004-8). The Australian DBT Institute has led high-fidelity DBT programs since 2004 through the Essentia Health Clinics in Melbourne Victoria, Sydney New South Wales, the Gold Coast Queensland, and online. Our clinical programs have included comprehensive DBT and modified DBT programs for specific populations including youth, carers, Indigenous Australians, correctional settings and psychiatric emergency settings.