Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT)

DBT is a specialised therapy proven to help manage overwhelming emotions. 

I currently provide DBT to individuals and groups. I work with private clients, with organisations, – particularly where DBT has been mandated by court or other referral agency. Contact me for further information.

If you struggle with any of the following, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) can help:

  • Feeling that emotions overwhelm you.
  • Frequent ups and downs in your relationships with friends and family
  • Problems with anger, especially in romantic relationships
  • Addictive or compulsive behaviour
  • Disordered eating including bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa and compulsive eating issues.
  • Self-harm
  • Health anxiety
  • Feelings of hopelessness or depression
Call Jacqueline on 07542 800689

What is DBT?

DBT was developed by Dr Marsha Linehan at the University of Washington to help people who struggled with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), often known as Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD). This is often characterised by impulsive behaviour, self-harm, difficulty in interpersonal relationships and intense emotional fluctuations.

Initially recognised as the gold standard in treating those with BPD/EUPD, DBT has now proven to be more effective than traditional therapy in treating a range of issues that have difficulty in regulating emotions at their core.

DBT is a specialist Cognitive Behavioural Treatment and skillset designed for people who experience difficulties in managing or regulating their emotions, who may have found unhealthy ways of coping such as alcohol or drugs.

DBT uniquely helps us change behaviours whilst accepting that ongoing difficulties will arise.

The focus is on helping you to learn effective coping strategies:

  • To deal with life on life’s terms
  • To deal with distressing situations
  • To regulate emotions
  • To improve interpersonal relationships, and
  • To be more present in your everyday life.

It is a mode of therapy that can be useful for those experiencing loss or emotional distress as well as those having difficulty with anger, isolation, relationship conflict, chaotic relationships, mood swings, or impulsive behaviours.

DBT emphasises creating a life you want to live.

Extensive research has shown that DBT skills can be applied successfully in treating conditions such as eating disorders, working with trauma self harm and addictions. The premise of DBT is that it is interactive. The therapist will do 50% of the work and the client undertakes to match this with 50% work and effort.

Throughout the therapy you are supported and encouraged to apply DBT concepts and skills to your own life.

You will be provided with worksheets, resources and short videos to be downloaded (or viewed online) and to aid your learning.


What does “dialectic” mean in DBT?

The dialectic in DBT refers to two seemingly opposite things being true at the same time.

For example, if you accept yourself and believe you are doing the best you can, you can also believe that you need to make changes.


DBT is learnt in 4 modules.

To be effective, you will be invited to work through the modules in an interactive way, bringing your own examples to each DBT session.

1  Core Mindfulness and walking the Middle Path consists of regular sessions specifically designed to teach you how to increase your awareness levels, decrease reactivity so you learn to respond rather than react, and deal with self-judgments and judgements by others.

This module will help you:

  • Focus better
  • Train your attention
  • Accept current moment experiences, and
  • Be more compassionate towards yourself.

It will also teach you how to avoid:

  • Taking extreme positions
  • ‘Mind traps’ – irrational thought patterns that blind you to the truth
  • Unbalanced thinking.

It will help you to acknowledge the validity of different positions and others’ perspectives.

2  Distress Tolerance module is centred on accepting difficult situations and emotions whilst finding ways to survive and tolerate the moment without the need to resort to or engage in old, unhealthy, or problematic behaviours.

It equips you with the skills to manage addictive thinking and behaviours:

  • Picking up a drink
  • Using drugs or non-prescribed medication
  • Other means of self-harm
  • Creating conflict
  • Self-sabotaging
  • Any other impulsive or unhealthy behaviour.

This module is especially helpful for relapse prevention in addiction.

3  Emotion Regulation involves learning to recognise and label current emotions, identify obstacles to changing emotions, reduce emotional vulnerability and reactivity.

It helps us increase positive emotions and learn how to change emotions that are unhelpful or unwarranted.

4  Interpersonal Effectiveness teaches strategies for asking for your needs to be met, saying what you need, saying no – saying what you don’t need.

You learn about setting boundaries and coping with interpersonal conflict in a way that influences others whilst enhancing the relationship and your own self-respect.

It teaches strategies for maintaining balanced relationships. It teaches us how to manage difficult relationships, build new healthy ones, and how to end draining or toxic relationships.

How is DBT different from other therapies?

DBT provides a comprehensive set of practical skills to help you manage your emotions, change destructive behaviors and create a life with less suffering and more possibilities for contentment and joy.

The therapy is structured around your goals and we will prioritise the things in your life that you most want to change.

If you are in Standard DBT treatment, meaning you are in both individual DBT therapy and are participating in a DBT Skills Group, you will have access to phone skills coaching between sessions from your individual therapist to help you use the DBT skills when you most need them.

Jacqueline Colligan, BA (Hons), MSc, Dip Couns. MBACP

Counselling & Psychotherapy

I am a qualified Counsellor and Psychotherapist, trained in London, educated to Masters Degree level, and a professionally registered member of the BACP (British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy).

Originally, I worked in Behavioural Healthcare Science and Organisational Psychology as a Public Health Academic, lecturing and researching at Newcastle University Medical School and on the University of Durham MBA Programme. As a result, I have authored numerous academic papers on changing health behaviours, and have several high ranking publications in these fields of study.

My work & specialisms

Where I’ve Worked

I have worked across several organisations including the NHS, Prison Services, Community Drug and Alcohol Services, charitable and private agencies, and private rehab clinics.

I have also been a key member of Heal for Life over the past five years which helps clients heal from trauma and abuse. More recently, I have been featured on TV’s ‘The Woman Show’ live as an invited expert, answering questions and giving support on sexual issues and sex addiction.

Currently, I do sessional work in London City & Greater London, Tynemouth (NE30), Newcastle upon Tyne, and Online.

  • all addictions
  • anxiety disorders
  • personality disorders
  • depression
  • anger
  • trauma
  • relationship counselling.

Also, I have specialist expertise in:

  • cults
  • post-cult counselling
  • dissociative disorders and
  • factitious disorders.

Training, qualifications & experience.

I have worked as a successful academic in the field of behaviour change with several high ranked publications. Practising within a humanistic and psychodynamic perspective, I am trained in group therapy, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy and one-to-one therapy. I also have a specialist interest in behaviour change, addiction and trauma.

Educated to Masters Degree level, and I hold individual membership with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)

  • ● BA (Hons) 2:1 Anthropology & Epidemiology. University of Newcastle. 1983.
    ● MSc Behavioural Healthcare Science. University of Newcastle. 2001.
    ● Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy (L4). Lambeth College London. 2012 to 2015.
    ● DBT Training. 12 week intensive with US Trainers. 2015. UKAT Training.
    ● Certificate in Dealing with Distress, Self Harm and Suicidal Ideation. Carolyn Spring Training. June 2020.
    ● Certificate in Dialectical Behavioural Therapy. June 2020
    ● Addictions Therapist. Open Road, Essex. 2014 to 2015
    ● Addictions Therapist, DBT Therapist. Sanctuary Lodge, Essex. 2015 to 2017
    ● Senior Therapist, Trauma Therapist, DBT Therapist. Promis, Kent 2017 to 2020

Connect on social media


Jacqueline Colligan https://www.instagram.com/jacq_colligantherapist/


Addiction Actually https://www.facebook.com/AddActually

Dialectical Behavioural Therapy https://www.facebook.com/DialecticalTherapy

Jacqueline M. Colligan (biz page) https://www.facebook.com/JacqColligan

Contact me to arrange a consultation.

Call 07542 800689 or email me at [email protected]

Find out if therapy can help you.