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Dr. Judi Sprei & Associates - DBTMARYLAND

MD and Metro D.C. Area Therapists Specializing in DBT & Trauma

Adult, Young Adult, and Adolescent DBT Program Description

General Program Structure:

We offer three treatment options. The vast majority of clients who contact us for DBT benefit most from the first option, Comprehensive DBT.

1. Comprehensive DBT: If someone recommended DBT to you, this is the treatment that they probably meant. Comprehensive DBT is the evidence-based treatment that is recommended for people who want to cope with issues of emotional dysregulation.

(For a quick overview of DBT, you might want to view

YouTube, "What the heck is DBT" by Dr. Esme Shaller )

Comprehensive DBT includes four (or 5) components:

a. DBT Individual Therapy - once a week individual therapy based on DBT philosophy and practice. This is not the same as individual therapy with a therapist who does not practice DBT.

b. DBT Skills Training– usually in a group format, but can be taught individually if needed. See description below.

c. DBT Phone Coaching – brief phone conversations with your individual DBT therapist to generalize the use of skills in your everyday experiences and to help prevent crises from developing or accelerating between sessions.

d. DBT Therapist Consultation Team – DBT therapists participate in a DBT Consultation team to further enhance treatment.

e. Parent Group – For parents of adolescents and young adults who are living at home. We offer skill training to parents to help you learn the skills that are being taught to your children and to support you in dealing with your own emotions/behaviors in dealing with your child's emotional dysregulation issues. See detailed description below.  

2. DBT Informed Therapy: We offer DBT informed therapy on a case-by-case basis after collaborating with you and, where applicable, your current therapist and carefully considering whether or not this would be an effective form of therapy for you. DBT Informed Therapy might mean attending a skills group while having weekly individual therapy with a therapist who does not practice DBT. Sometimes, DBT informed therapy means being seen once a week for a session combining individual therapy and skills acquisition.

3. Advanced DBT: Some clients have already participated in DBT skills groups and know and use the skills, but would like further individual therapy to work on other issues. We also offer advanced DBT skills groups for clients who know the skills and would like additional group experience to work on further enhancing using the skills in life situations. We currently have three advanced skills groups - adolescents, young adults and adults.

Adult DBT Program

DBT Individual Therapy -once a week individual therapy based on DBT philosophy and practice.

Adult and Young Adult DBT Skills Groups.

     DBT skills groups are where you learn the skills to regulate your emotions. We know that many people are apprehensive about joining a group. We also know that most people who come to our groups end up loving them and benefiting from them. The groups are supportive, informative and fun!

     DBT Skills Groups are taught in a cycle. By the end of each cycle, clients have been taught all of the DBT skills. Clients may enter a group at various points in the cycle. We ask each client who is entering a group to come in with the expectation of remaining in the group for at least one complete cycle, although our expectation and the research on DBT’s effectiveness is based on participants staying in the group long enough to go through each session in the cycle at least twice. Most members do remain in the group for at least two cycles. Cycles vary by group, but usually last from 24-36 weeks. Clients join the group after completing their individual orientation sessions (usually 3-4 sessions.) Your individual therapist will help you decide if you are ready and have the commitment and motivation needed to join a group. To prevent quick turnover, and to give each person a chance to really experience the group beyond those initial few sessions when many people are understandably nervous and apprehensive about being in a new group experience, we require all new group members to commit to paying for 8 sessions, payable one week at a time, regardless of whether they remain in the group for 8 sessions. 

Most group sessions are 90 minutes long. Our groups usually have one or two therapists and 6 - 7 group members. All group members are required to participate in weekly individual psychotherapy.

Adult and Young Adult Group Times:

During the pandemic, while we are working via Zoom, the days and times of some of our groups have changed. So, rather than listing the times here, your individual therapist will go over this information with you. If you have a therapist outside of our practice, our administrative assistant, Lisa Ginns, will talk to you about what groups currently have openings.

We do not always have openings in all of our groups. We will let you know which groups are available when we have further contact with you. Additional adult, young adult, adolescent and parent groups will be started as time and space permit.

Couples/Families: We offer DBT for couples and families who would benefit by using DBT to enhance their relationships. 

Adolescent, Young Adult, and Parent DBT Program Description

DBT Individual Therapy and Skills Groups for Adolescents: Many of the therapists in our practice specialize in treating adolescents and offer individual DBT to adolescents.

    If our current groups are full or do not meet your schedule, we try to start a new group, coordinate with one of the other Comprehensive DBT programs in the area, or offer DBT skills training on an individual basis.

    During the pandemic, while we are working via Zoom, the days and times of some of our groups have changed. So, rather than listing the times here, your individual therapist will go over this information with you. If you have a therapist outside of our practice, our administrative assistant, Lisa Ginns, will talk to you about what groups currently have openings.

Parents: The parents' group offers support in parenting a child who is dealing with issues of emotional dysregulation. In the group, you learn DBT skills both to help you manage your own emotions and so that you will be able to communicate with your child effectively about their own use of DBT skills. While some parents are hesitant to join a group at first, or even fear that they will be judged by the group, they quickly end up telling us that the group is of tremendous help to them and that they are so glad that they are a part of it. Parents are understandably hesitant to add another therapy appointment to their busy, often overwhelming, lives. Yet, most parents soon say that attending the group has helped them tremendously and actually led them to feel less overwhelmed and less alone. The group is a supportive place to learn how to cope with the enormous stresses involved in helping a beloved child in their struggles. Many parents choose to repeat the group several times for the support and guidance it offers.

Attending a parent group is required for parents of adolescents and young adults who are living at home. The group is optional for parents of adults and for parents of young adults who do not live at home. The groups are also open to parents who have young adults away at college and perhaps in a DBT program somewhere else. If you are unable to attend, other arrangements will be made for you or you can attend individual parent sessions. 

Multifamily Group: In this skills group, parents and adolescents meet together and learn the skills at the same time. We are starting a new multifamily group in the near future. If you are interested in this type of group, please let us know and we will put you on our wait list for a future group.

Parent Coaching or Therapy: This option allows parents to have their own DBT coach to call when they are feeling emotionally dysregulated and need coaching so that they can most effectively and skillfully interact with their child. Several face-to-face sessions with the coach are usually required prior to starting phone coaching. Individual therapy for parents is also available.


"Largely due to stable outcomes and reduced relapse, costs of DBT compared to alternative treatments are also significantly reduced in the long term.

(Sayrs and Linehan, 2019)"

Insurance: We are out of network for all insurance. You will be given a bill at each session that you can submit to your insurance company for out of network reimbursement. Payment is expected prior to or at the time of your session.

We do not participate in Medicare. Dr. Sprei has an opt-out agreement with Medicare thus allowing Medicare clients the option of signing a contract agreeing to self-pay and not submit their bills to Medicare. The other members of the practice are currently unable to see Medicare clients, even if the client wishes to self-pay.

Fees: We are out of network providers for all insurance.

Payment in full is expected at the time of service. We provide a bill that has all the information needed in order for you to submit the claim to your insurance company. You might want to check with your insurance company to find out how much they will reimburse you for out of network therapy for procedural codes 90791 (Initial psychiatric diagnosis evaluation); 90834 ( Individual psychotherapy) and 90853 (Group therapy.) Most weeks you will have one individual and one group session. 

Reduced Fees: We offer some reduced fee therapy for people in financial need. However, these spots are quickly filled and do not open up very often. We do not put people on a waiting list for reduced fee openings since the wait would often be over 2 years and we do not want anyone to wait that long to start addressing their issues. If you cannot afford our services, we suggest you either find someone in your network who offers a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness or talk to us to see if you might benefit from DBT informed therapy where you participate in one of our DBT groups while seeing an in-network --DBT therapist for your weekly individual sessions.

Single Case Agreements. We currently only accept new single case agreements where the insurance company reimburses you directly. Some insurance companies will make these arrangements with you and reimburse you for our full fee. Please discuss this with your insurance company. They will only talk to you. We can not initiate this for you.

Due to frequent difficulty receiving payment from insurance companies, we are not currently accepting new single case agreements that require that we are paid directly from the insurance company. This policy is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as insurance company practices change. Please feel free to ask us our current status on accepting single case agreements.

Please visit the rest of our website for further information about DBT and our approach to treatment.


If you have further questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact us through our website contact page or by sending an email to [email protected].

Our phone number is (301) 229-0063