Our Program for Adults

Many of the adults who come to Clearwater requesting DBT have had other therapy experiences prior to joining our program.  In general, DBT is more intensive than individual therapy, but not a substitute for partial day programs.  Most people spend two to four hours a week in DBT treatment at Clearwater.

DBT services for adults at Clearwater include individual therapy, with phone coaching from 7am to 10pm daily.  Skills classes meet once a week for two hours.  Typically, we require a six month commitment to DBT at the beginning of treatment as that is the time needed to teach the entire DBT curriculum.  Most people repeat the skills class twice, although there is a treatment review undertaken after six months to determine whether the treatment is working.  In DBT, services are not continued without some observable progress on treatment goals.

Sometimes a client is committed to a therapist s/he has been working with prior to seeking DBT, and s/he would like to continue to work with that professional and only take a skills class.  We are flexible about this, and will typically work it out as long as the individual therapist is comfortable supporting DBT.

Clearwater also offers DBT informed therapy.  Phone coaching is not provided, and skills classes are not usually indicated for this type of treatment.  However, instruction in skills is integrated into the individual sessions, and some other components of DBT therapy (like diary cards, mindfulness training, and behavioral chaining) are generally utilized in the treatment.  This is often a desirable treatment approach for clients who are having problems tolerating distress without making things worse, and/or modulating their emotions, but are not engaging in dangerous or self-harming behaviors.

**The Adult DBT Skills Class is being held on-line via Zoom until Shelter In Place restrictions have been lifted for the Bay Area**

  • Tuesdays from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm (with a ten minute break) with Erika Swanson, Ph.D. and Mark Abelson, AMFT. Next entry point is 1/26/21. We will be starting Distress Tolerance.

Advanced DBT Skills Class

  • Thursdays from 5:30 to 7:00 with Erika Swanson, Ph.D. 

**This class is closed. Check back in Spring 2021 for open enrollment**

This 16-week DBT Advanced skills class is intended for clients who have completed at least one 24-week cycle of standard DBT skills classes at Clearwater. Interested participants who have taken DBT skills classes elsewhere will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The class will delve deeper into prioritization and flexible application of DBT skills to real-life situations through group dialogue and role-play. We will explore many of the more complex concepts in DBT, such as radical acceptance, compassion, non-judgment, emotional exposure and tolerance, dialectical philosophy and how to more consistently apply these concepts in our daily lives.

** New DBT Skills Class for Binge Eating and Bulimia**

  • Start date will be scheduled once there are 4-6 participants. Class will meet from 6:00 to 8:00 pm with Hilary Ferris White, LCSW. 

This DBT skills class is open to individuals currently struggling with binge eating and bulimia. Over the course of 20 weeks participants will learn standard DBT skills of mindfulness, distress tolerance and emotion regulation. In addition, this class will provide motivation and commitment strategies to stop binging, as well as relapse prevention. Participants must be in weekly therapy with an individual therapist to participate in this class. Unfortunately, we are unable to accept clients who are medically unstable and require hospitalization because of electrophysiological abnormalities, electrolyte imbalances, or other potentially dangerous conditions. We are also unable to accept clients who are extremely underweight, unless medically monitored weight restoration has already safely begun and close medical supervision continues. Unlike other standard DBT classes with rolling admission, this class is a closed group where participants sign up for the full 20 weeks.

Skills classes cost is $100/person per week, totaling $800 per person for each 8 week module. Most participants complete the full 24-week curriculum (i.e., three 8-week modules). Classes are held in the classroom at 3803 Broadway, Suite 1, across the street from the main building. Payment is due at the time of enrollment. For clients seeing a therapist outside of Clearwater, we require a one-time intake appointment with the DBT class instructor. This intake costs $200. Participants are also required to purchase the ‘DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets’ manual. Clearwater sells them for $35 or clients can purchase them on-line. Clearwater does not accept Medi-cal or direct third party payments.  Visa and Mastercard are welcome.

Practical Information

Clearwater is located blocks from Kaiser Permanente in Oakland. It has parking available, is on a major bus line, and is within walking distance of the MacArthur BART station. It is only about a 25 minute drive from Walnut Creek, Danville, and other Tri-Valley communities.


Updated 1/12/21