General Information

DBT is a treatment approach that combines individual therapy and classroom instruction to help people learn to manage and regulate intense emotions and extreme mood swings. DBT helps people reduce impulsivity and/or self-destructive behaviors, and cultivate a meaningful life. The skills and principles taught in DBT improve quality of life, parenting effectiveness, and communication and satisfaction in key relationships for most people.  Although originally designed to address the issues of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), DBT can be helpful to a wide range of people who would like to more effectively regulate their emotional reactions and behaviors, and directly influence and change their Central Nervous System’s responses.

If you would like more detailed information about DBT philosophy, principles and curriculum, please visit the BTech website. Unless otherwise stated, Clearwater teaches the adult curriculum developed by Marsha Linehan, PhD and the adolescent curriculum developed by Alec Miller, PhD. We hold skills classes for Young Adults (post-high school but prior to establishing an independent life structure) using the adult curriculum.  We also hold weekly two-hour Consultation Team Meetings, an essential component of comprehensive DBT treatment as stipulated by Dr. Linehan. All DBT therapists at Clearwater have been intensively trained in DBT through Behavioral Tech, Dr. Linehan’s training organization.  Most have a strong background in mindfulness, and have a personal practice that is part of their professional commitment.

About our Child Program

Clearwater has developed a DBT-informed child curriculum called CAMMP (Clearwater’s Affect Management and Mindfulness Program for kids) that teaches children some of the DBT skills that are useful in managing strong emotion and learning to direct attention.  Derived from the adolescent materials developed by Alec Miller, and including materials found useful in working with ADHD children, the emphasis is on mindfulness, basic distress tolerance, and age-appropriate social skills (including managing teasing and bullying).

Individual DBT informed therapy is offered for children between the ages of 6 and 10.  We help children apply DBT skills using simplified systems for monitoring behavior change with the goals of helping pre-teens learn about emotion regulation, and  improve control of their attention and behavior.   We use the CAMMP curriculum in the individual therapy to introduce concepts and even do homework that involves practicing skills.

For children in this age group to change in therapy, it is imperative that the parents be involved.  If parents are already getting parenting help from another therapist, we would ask that their therapist coordinate care with Clearwater.  If parents are not involved in therapy that addresses parenting issues elsewhere, we do require that parents participate with a therapist at Clearwater. We offer individualized parent coaching, where parents can meet one-on-one with a therapist and investigate how to effectively apply DBT skills to the particular difficulties they are facing with their child.

Clearwater is not primarily a research institution, and unlike the curriculums that have been developed and researched within academic or hospital settings, our curriculum has not been empirically validated.

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.

To find out more about costs, appointments and classes, and/or to talk to one of our senior staff about our therapy services, either use the Contact button and email us, or call 510-596-8137 and leave a message. Our Office Manager, Matt Chavez, will get back to you and set up a time for you to talk with a senior clinician about your needs.  We try to respond to inquiries within 48 business hours.