Clinical Research

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for Patients with Depression and Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for Patients with Depression and Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors

This research study hopes to determine the usefulness of a group therapy treatment in helping patients with depression and suicidal thoughts and behaviors get better.  The group therapy is called Dialectical Behavior Therapy, or DBT.  DBT is a treatment that promotes the development of flexible rather than negative thinking and emphasizes acceptance and change-based principles.  Mindfulness is one important skill that is taught throughout the DBT skills groups.

You would be randomly assigned to start the DBT skills group right away, or wait 18 weeks before starting the groups. The DBT skills groups, which consist of 3-7 other participants and two co-leaders, meet every week for an hour and a half.  Between weekly groups, one of the group co-leaders will give you a call to check-in with you and briefly discuss how the week and the homework is going.  If you miss a group session, the co-leader would review with you the information missed during the weekly phone call or in person.  Once a month, you would also be asked to come in for an additional one hour for an assessment interview and to answer some questionnaires.  You would also be asked to come in for additional assessments at 3 months and 6 months after the DBT skills group ends.

If you are randomly assigned to the wait list group, you would come in for an assessment once a month for 18 weeks.  At the end of the 18 weeks, you would come in for a re-screening visit to see if you still meet criteria to participate in the study.  If you do, you will then start the DBT skills group.  If you don’t, you can still participate in the DBT skills group anyway. 

In order to be eligible for this study, you must already have a mental health provider or treater who you see at least every other week. No matter which group you are in, you would continue seeing your regular treater(s) (therapist, psychiatrist, PCP, etc.) for visits as usual.

The therapy in this study is provided at no cost. We can also provide vouchers for using the MGH parking garages. You will be paid from $100 to $200, depending on what group you are randomly assigned to, for completing the study assessment visits.

If interested, please contact Kelley at 617-724-2936 or kedurham@partners.org