A Cost Breakdown of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

By Jared Levenson  ✔️ Updated ✔️ Reviewed ✔️ Fact-checked on March 16, 2023

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Worried about how much DBT costs?

Let’s take a look. 

The cost of DBT depends on many different factors and in this article we’ll be looking at a cost breakdown of DBT therapy.

The author of this post knows how confusing insurance, sliding scale, and various pricing options can be when you’re simply looking for someone to help you out through some confusing times.

But does DBT therapy break the bank? Let’s find out.

Is DBT costly?

The cost of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) depends on a variety of factors, such as the type of therapy you receive, the DBT clinic or individual therapist, and your insurance coverage.

Generally speaking, DBT can be more expensive than other forms of treatment since you usually have to pay for the group component as well as the individual therapy.

If you are considering DBT, it is essential to discuss the costs with your certified DBT therapist and insurance provider before beginning treatment.

Additionally, some therapists offer sliding scale fees based on income or provide payment plans that can help make DBT more affordable for those who need it.

In summary, whether or not DBT is costly depends on a variety of factors specific to your situation. It is essential to discuss the cost of treatment with your therapist and insurance provider before beginning treatment to determine what will work best for you financially.

However, you should know that despite the upfront cost of DBT, numerous studies have shown that DBT decreases costs long-term.

Is There Empirical Research On DBT And Treatment Costs?

Yes, there is empirical research on Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and treatment costs. Numerous studies have examined the cost-effectiveness of DBT in reducing self-harm in patients with a personality disorder.

For example, a study published in PLoS One1 concluded that treating BPD with an evidence-based outpatient DBT program is associated with substantial overall cost savings of $2987 / year.

How Much Does DBT Cost?

Studies such as the Plos One have demonstrated that DBT is effective in reducing self-harm in adults and adolescents, as well as reducing the cost of secondary mental health care associated with Borderline Personality Disorder.

According to research published by the British Journal of Psychotherapy2, “a £36,000 saving was evident by the end of the post-treatment year, mainly from lowered in-patient and community nursing contacts”.

Additionally, a study conducted by the University of Washington3 showed that “the decrease in hospital costs (~$26,000 per client) far outweighed the outpatient services cost increase (~$6,500 per client)”.

Therefore, a good estimate for the average cost of DBT treatment is $6,500.

Please keep in mind, however, DBT has been proven to be an effective and cost-effective approach to providing mental healthcare treatment. While $6,500 is nothing to scoff at, the long-term costs are even greater.

You can rest assured that investing in DBT will result in positive outcomes for patients and lower costs for providers.

The Cost of DBT in Individual Therapy

The cost of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) in individual therapy can vary depending on your insurance coverage, the type of treatment you receive like a private practice, and the location of the provider.

Generally speaking, individual DBT therapy can be expensive, particularly for those without insurance coverage for mental health services. You may be able to find a therapist who offers sliding scale fees or payment plans.

It is important to note that DBT is a comprehensive treatment program that includes both individual therapy and group skills training.

As such, you will likely need to pay for both components to receive full benefits from the program. Additionally, some programs may require weekly individual sessions as part of their treatment protocol.

DBT In-Person Average Cost Breakdown

  • In general, in-person sessions range from $100-$250 per hour depending on the therapist’s level of experience and where they are located.
  • The average cost of an individual session for online therapy is around $150 per hour. Depending on the severity of your mental illness or emotional problems you’re experiencing, you may need anywhere from 4-20 sessions to get the full benefit of DBT treatment. This means that if you were to get 20 sessions, it would cost around $3,000 for treatment.
  • At 4-8 sessions per month, this averages $600-$1200 for in-person therapy (without insurance, free, or sliding scale options).

Tips to get lower DBT therapy prices

  • You can also look at different therapists in your area and compare prices to find one that fits your budget. 
  • Another factor to consider when it comes to the cost of DBT treatment for standard outpatient treatment is whether or not it is covered by insurance plans or other forms of financial aid like Medicaid or Medicare.
  • Insurance companies vary widely in terms of what kind of coverage they provide for mental health treatments so it pays to do research before committing to any particular plan or provider.
  • Additionally, some providers will offer sliding scale fees or payment plans if necessary – always ask if these are available before signing up for treatment!  
  • Finally, there may be free resources available in your local community such as support groups or self-help classes which can be very helpful in supplementing traditional forms of therapy like DBT.

It never hurts to explore all options when trying to find affordable care!  

Using Out-Of-Network Benefits

Using Out-Of-Network Benefits can be a great way to access care that may not be available through your insurance network. However, it is important to understand the associated costs and potential risks before making any decisions.

Generally speaking, when you use out-of-network benefits, you are responsible for paying the difference between what your health plan allows and what the provider charges.

This is known as the cost share. Additionally, out-of-network providers may charge higher rates than in-network providers and you may be responsible for the full amount of these charges.

It is important to note that some plans do not offer any out-of-network benefits at all, so it is best to check with your health plan first before seeking care from an out-of-network provider.

If you do decide to use out-of-network benefits, make sure to ask about fees upfront and keep track of any bills or statements you receive from the provider.

Overall, using Out Of Network Benefits can provide more flexibility in terms of finding a provider that meets your needs but it is important to understand all associated costs beforehand so that you can make an informed decision.

The Potential For Online Group Therapy To Improve Access To DBT Treatment

The potential for online group therapy to improve access to DBT treatment is promising. You can now access DBT therapy from the comfort of your own home and at a fraction of the cost of traditional in-person treatment.

  • Recent studies have found that online DBT is just as effective as an in-person treatment, making it an attractive option for those who may not be able to attend regular in-person sessions due to financial or geographical constraints.
  • Additionally, online group therapy allows you to connect with other individuals who are also seeking help for their mental health issues, providing a sense of community and support.
  • Online DBT courses and groups provide a comprehensive approach to learning skills such as mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance.
  • These courses and groups are designed by licensed clinicians and taught by experienced professionals who understand the nuances of dialectical behavior therapy.
  • Furthermore, many reputable providers are offering online DBT groups which provide a safe and affordable setting for individuals to receive treatment from the comfort of their own homes.

In summary, online group therapy is becoming increasingly popular as an effective way to improve access to DBT treatment. With its convenience and affordability, it offers an attractive alternative for those seeking help with their mental health issues.

Online Group DBT Resources

Here are some resources to find online group DBT:

  1. Grouport: https://www.grouporttherapy.com/what-we-treat/dbt
  2. DBT in Suffolk (online): https://suffolkdbtjl.com/online-therapy/
  3. Psychology Today (change location to your local region): https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/groups/texas?category=dialectical-dbt

Best Health Insurance for DBT

If you are looking for health insurance to cover Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) in NYC, there are a few options available.

Blue Cross Blue Shield is one of the largest health insurance companies in the U.S. and provides coverage for mental health services such as DBT.

Additionally, many therapists offer out-of-network services that may be covered by your insurance company if DBT has been recommended as the treatment of choice for you.

It is important to note that some components of DBT treatment may not be covered by any health insurance at this time, including but not limited to skills training classes, phone coaching sessions, and other activities outside of traditional therapy sessions.

Therefore it is important to speak with your therapist about their fees and payment policies before beginning treatment.

Sliding Scale DBT Therapists in NYC

If you are looking for sliding-scale DBT therapists in NYC, there are many options available. Many DBT therapists in NYC offer sliding scale services, meaning they adjust their fees based on your income and financial situation.

For example, you may search Psychology Today DBT Therapist in NYC here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/ny/new-york?category=dialectical-dbt

When searching for a therapist, it is important to find one who has experience with DBT and who is a good fit for you. You may want to look for someone who specializes in the areas of mental health that you are struggling with.

Additionally, make sure to ask about the therapist’s sliding scale policy before scheduling an appointment.

Remember, there are other ways to pay for therapy such as using a flexible spending account or applying for grants from organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

Finally, it is important to remember that finding the right therapist takes time and effort. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and take your time when making this important decision.

How Many Sessions Of DBT Do I Need?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a commitment and requires a few hours of your time every week for around 6 months, which give or take is around 24 sessions4.

It is important to note that the length of DBT may vary depending on individual needs and goals.

Generally, DBT involves weekly individual therapy sessions that last about 40-60 minutes each, as well as group skills training, peer consultation team meetings, and intersession contact between sessions. According to the Linehan Institute, the full DBT skills curriculum is intended to take twenty-four weeks longer to complete.

It is important to remember that although it may require a significant amount of time and effort, it can be worth it in the end.

How Long Does DBT Typically Last?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a form of therapy that helps individuals manage difficult emotions and behaviors.

The length of DBT treatment varies depending on the individual’s needs but typically lasts around 6 months.

During this time, clients will participate in weekly individual therapy sessions and a weekly skills training session.

Each session usually lasts between 45-60 minutes.

It is important to note that the duration of DBT can vary depending on each person’s unique symptoms and goals for treatment. It is best to consult with a mental health professional who specializes in DBT to determine an appropriate timeline for you.

How Many Hours A Week Is DBT?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy that helps individuals learn to manage their emotions and behaviors. It typically involves weekly individual therapy sessions, as well as group skills training classes.

The amount of time you spend in DBT will depend on your individual needs and goals.

Generally, you attend at least one hour of individual therapy and two hours of group skills training each week, which means 3 hours per week for DBT.

What Are The Disadvantages Of DBT?

While Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) has proven to be an effective treatment for mental health issues, it is important to understand the potential disadvantages associated with it.

The main disadvantage of DBT is the length of time and commitment required. A typical course of DBT can last up to six months, as well as regular one-to-one sessions and group meetings.

This can become a significant financial burden for some individuals, and there are limited resources available for those who cannot afford treatment.

Additionally, DBT requires individuals to work outside their therapy sessions on exercises and activities that require motivation and consistency.

Furthermore, if not conducted by experienced practitioners by established guidelines, the likelihood of it being ineffective or even damaging increases considerably.

Lastly, because DBT involves working through challenging topics such as relationships, trauma, and emotions can be difficult for some people who are reluctant to face them directly.

How Much Does DBT Training Cost?

The cost of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) training can vary depending on the type of training you are looking for. Generally, you can expect to pay between $2,000 and $2,500 for 80 hours of didactic training in DBT.

Additionally, a six-month one-to-one consultation may cost an additional $500. It is important to note that obtaining training or consultation from any organization does not guarantee the achievement of certification by the Linehan Board of Certification (LBC).

You should also consider the cost of maintaining your certification status with the LBC. Annually, a Maintenance of Certification fee of $95 covers the LBC’s review of the information needed to assure you have met all requirements for certification.

Overall, it is important to research and understand all costs associated with DBT training before beginning your journey (as a therapist looking for training and DBT certification).

How Much Does DBT Cost Conclusion: 

In conclusion, the average cost for dialectical behavioral therapy varies widely depending on factors such as geographical location and type/level of services offered by individual therapists or facilities.

However, most estimates put it somewhere between $100-$250 per hour with an average monthly price tag ranging from $1,200 -$5,000 depending on how many sessions are needed and whether insurance covers any part of those costs.

All in all, the average cost of DBT treatment is around $6,500.

Do some research into different plans available in your area and don’t forget that there may be free resources available too – good luck!


  1. Meuldijk, D., McCarthy, A., Bourke, M. E., & Grenyer, B. F. S. (2017, March 1). The value of psychological treatment for borderline personality disorder: Systematic review and cost offset analysis of economic evaluations. PLOS ONE, 12(3), e0171592. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0171592
  2. Amner, K. (2012, May 7). The Effect of DBT Provision in Reducing the Cost of Adults Displaying the Symptoms of BPD. British Journal of Psychotherapy, 28(3), 336–352. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1752-0118.2012.01286.x
  3. Dialectical Behavior Therapy | Behavioral Research & Therapy Clinics. (n.d.). Dialectical Behavior Therapy | Behavioral Research & Therapy Clinics. https://depts.washington.edu/uwbrtc/about-us/dialectical-behavior-therapy/
  4. D. (2018, April 3). How Long Does Dialectical Behavior Therapy Take? | Delray Center. How Long Does Dialectical Behavior Therapy Take? | Delray Center. https://www.delraycenter.com/how-long-does-dialectical-behavior-therapy-take/

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