• Zen rock garden

    “Knowledge is learning something

    new everyday.

    Wisdom is letting go of something


                                                                               Zen Proverb

  • Zen Garden

    “One of the greatest moments

    in anybody’s developing experience

    is when he no longer tries to hide

    from himself but determines

    to get acquainted with himself

    as he really is.”

    Norman Vincent Peale

  • Zen basalt wood

    “We take care of the future best

    by taking care of the present now.”        

                                                                               Jon Kabat-Zinn

  • Water droplets

    “The world of peace and joy

    is at our fingertips.

    We only need to touch it.”

    Thich Nhat Hanh

  • Vintage nature

    When one door of happiness closes, another opens,

    but often we look so long at

    the closed door that we

    do not see the one that has

    been opened for us.

    Helen Keller

  • Step stones

    “Life is lived in the pauses,

    not the events.”


  • Candle light

    “You must be

    the change you wish

    to see in the world.”

    Mahatma Gandhi

  • Flower field at sunrise

    “If light is in your heart,

    you will find your way home.”


  • Magic Mountain

    “Each morning,

    we are born again.

    What we do today

    is what matters most.”


  • Lotus Flower

    “The Lotus flower blooms most

    beautifully from

    the thickest, deepest mud.”

    Zen Proverb

    “Just like the Lotus

    we too have the ability

    to rise from the mud out of the darkness

    and radiate into the world.”


  • at sunrise

    “With the new day comes

    new strength and new thoughts.”

    Eleanor Roosevelt

  • Garden

    “There is a very simple secret

    to being happy.

    Just cease your demand

    on this moment.”


  • Forest Waterfall

    “Love and compassion

    are necessities, not luxuries.

    Without them humanity

    cannot survive.”

    Dalai Lama

  • Collage Landscape

    “Breathing in, I see myself as a flower.

    Breathing out, I feel fresh.

    Breathing in, I see myself as a mountain.

    Breathing out, I feel solid.

    Breathing in, I see myself as space.

    Breathing out, I feel free.

    Thich Nhat Hanh

  • Bridge

    “In the beginner’s mind

    there are many possibilities,

    in the expert’s mind there are few”

    Shunryu Suzuki

  • Balance

    “Life is a balance of holding on

    and letting go”


  • Slide3

    “If we believe that

    tomorrow will be better,

    we can bear a hardship today.”

                                                                               Thich Nhat Hanh

  • Sider6

    “Since everything is

    a reflection of our minds …

    Everything can be changed

    by our minds.”


  • Slide5


    “The  awareness that emerges through paying attention

    on purpose, in the present moment,

    and non-judgmentally to the unfolding

    of experience moment by moment.”

    Jon Kabat-Zinn

  • Home slide2

    “Wherever you are,

    that is the entry point.”


What is DBT

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based therapy that uses dialectical strategies and mindfulness to help change behaviors that prevent people from leading a life worth living.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based therapy that uses dialectical strategies and mindfulness to help change behaviors that prevent people from leading a life worth living.  Originally developed at the University of Washington by Marsha M. Linehan, Ph.D. (1993) to treat individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder, DBT has been has been found effective in treating many issues based in emotion dysregulation. Through extensive research, DBT has been shown to help people:

 Feel more motivated to engage in life fully

Regulate emotions and increase focus

Improve relationships with others

Reduce behaviors that cause harm to self and others

Manage life crises more effectively

Decrease suicidal behaviors and hospitalization


Dialectics is a way of observing how two views that may seem contradictory can coexist and finding the synthesis between the seeming contradictions.   Dialectics moves us away from the all-or-nothing thinking that can keep people from solving problems effectively.  In DBT the emphasis is on the dialectic balance between acceptance and change; though these concepts seem opposite, we need to flow between the two to get out of our “stuck” places.  By both accepting things we can’t change and changing what is in our control, we can better reach our goals.

Behavior Therapy focuses on how and why people learn certain behaviors.  As we respond to events in our life, we develop behaviors that help us cope.  Some of these behaviors may no longer be useful to us, but they are habits.  Other behaviors may be very effective to relieve pain in the moment, but have long-term consequences that cause chaos.  Behavior therapy focuses on understanding the ineffective behaviors and replacing them with behaviors that help people reach their goals.

Mindfulness is a practice that helps us learn to control our mind instead of our mind being in control of us.  Mindfulness helps us keep a present-moment orientation so that the pain of the past and the worries of the future are not clouding what is happening in this one moment.


Photo of young pretty sad thinking girl sitting alone


DBT is an evidence-based treatment for adults and adolescents who have challenges with emotion regulation.  When emotional dysregulation occurs, it can result in symptoms such as:

Extreme emotional intensity that feels all-consuming

Rapid mood shifts

Heightened sensitivity and reactivity to criticism

Fear of abandonment either real or imagined

Difficulty establishing or maintaining healthy relationships

Anger issues

Chronic sense of emptiness or confusion about self


To cope with such symptoms, people often engage in behaviors that may make things feel better in the moment but lead to serious consequences such as:

Impulsive behaviors that cause harm or regret

Self-defeating behaviors, self-harm or suicide ideation

Relationship instability


Addictions or binging


DBT targets such behaviors and help people feel more in control of their emotions and actions.

Learning new behaviors can be life changing and rewarding.  It also takes time and willingness, as new behaviors have to be practiced until they begin to feel more natural – even in highly emotional contexts.  So people engaging in DBT therapy need to be willing to work hard and commit to at least one year of treatment.  At the same time, clients will be in a collaborative relationship with a therapist who will provide support and encouragement when things become difficult.

Road to a life worth living


A Full DBT treatment program involves four key elements :
Individual therapy
Skills Training Groups
Coaching Calls
Therapist Consultation Team

  • Learn to Surf the Tides of Emotions: Life Skills for High School to College Transition

    This is a 10-week workshop designed for recent high school graduates and college students. It meets on 2:30-4:00pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, starting on Tuesday, June 12th and ending on Thursday, August 16th.

    Learn how to get through stress without making it worse

    Learn how to understand what emotions are communicating and how to act on them to get closer to your life goals.

    Increase daily happiness

    Learn how to have satisfying relationships

    Call us at (310) 373-1823 to reserve your spot!

  • Adult DBT Program

    For adults who struggle with emotion dysregulation and behaviors that decrease quality of life. This program enables people to gain control over emotions and behaviors and to engage in healthier relationships.

    Individual Therapy.

    Skills training group.

    Coaching calls (consultation with therapist between sessions).

    Therapist consultation team.

  • Adolescent DBT Program

    For adolescents who feel overwhelmed by their emotions and are struggling to cope with life’s challenges and changes. This program enables adolescents to gain control over emotions and behaviors and help families navigate the challenges of moving through adolescence into adulthood.

    Individual Therapy for the adolescent

    Multi-family skills training group for the adolescent and one or two adults involved in the daily life of the adolescent

    Coaching calls (consultation with therapist between sessions)

    Therapist consultation team

  • Couples DBT Program

    For couples who are often in conflict due to strong emotions and high reactivity to each other. This program helps couples be more in control of their responses to each other and improves communication so they can work together more effectively to achieve their goals.

    Couples Therapy

    Multi-couple skills training group with other couples

    Coaching calls (consultation with therapist between sessions)

    Therapist consultation team

  • Advanced DBT Program

    For adults who are at Stage 2 of DBT treatment and have completed at least 2 cycles of the Basic Skills Training. Participants will work at reinforcing the skills learned in the Adult DBT Program, and going into more depth with other evidence-based practices to help them reach their life worth living goals.

    Individual Therapy

    Advanced skills training group

    Coaching calls (consultation with therapist between sessions)

    Therapist consultation team

  • Advanced DBT Goal-Setting Program

    For adults who are at Stage 2 of DBT treatment and have completed at least 2 cycles of the Basic Skills Training. In addition to reinforcing the skills learned in the Adult DBT Program, participants work on setting long-term goals and problem-solving to reach those goals.

    Individual Therapy (may vary in frequency, commonly every other week).

    Advanced DBT Goal-Setting group

    Coaching calls (consultation with therapist between sessions)

    Therapist consultation team

  • Our Individual Sessions

    per 50-minute hour
    • $215 for meeting with one of our licensed therapists
    • $165 to meet with one of our extensively trained interns
  • DBT Skills Training Groups

    per group session
    • Adult DBT Skills Training Group
    • DBT Skills Training for Binge Eating Group
    • Advanced DBT Skills Training Group
  • Family Skills

    per group, which covers two participants
    • Multi Family Skills
    • Couples Skills
    • Single Family Skills (additional fee)

Our blog

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Our goal is to guide those whose lives are marked by intense emotional suffering toward a life worth living by using evidence-based treatments. We recognize that when life is full of pain, people’s attempts to cope can lead to even worse consequences. DBT helps people find more effective ways to deal with life’s stressors and reduce their own suffering. We strive to find a balance between warm validation and a steadfast focus on changing the behaviors that create problems in clients’ lives.

  • Kari Barker, M.S., M.F.T.

    Kari Barker, M.F.T. is the founder and Director of the DBT Center of the South Bay, and has been working with adults, adolescences, couples, families, and groups for more than 15 years.  Her experience includes working on a specialty program in an in-patient hospital setting, in a school based setting, a non-profit outpatient community counseling center, and in private practice.  Kari is an intensively trained DBT therapist, has had advanced intensive DBT training and recently completed training for the DBT-ACES program with the creator of DBT-ACES, Kate Comtois, Ph.D., MPH.  She has been in consultation with DBT expert Linda Dimeff, Ph.D. for over four years.  Kari has participated in a 5-day silent mindfulness retreat with Zen Master (Roshi), Marsha Linehan and continues to maintain a daily Mindfulness practice.  Kari also has experience and extensive training in working with trauma survivors and dissociation.  In addition to providing individual therapy, family therapy, and DBT skills training, Kari offers training, supervision, and consultation to mental health professionals.  She has been an invited presenter at local professional organizations, local colleges, and was on a panel of speakers for the California Association of Marriage & Family Therapists Annual Conference to discuss her experiences with DBT-LA Network, a consortium of DBT private practitioners, in “DBT in Private Practice:  Lessons Learned.”  Kari is passionate about DBT and her clients.  She approaches treatment with a focus on validating the client’s strengths and helping them to fulfill their potential and to create a life worth living.

  • Elana Lev, M.S.W., L.C.S.W.

    Elana Lev is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who is passionate about DBT and helping to enhance the lives of her clients. She has been studying and practicing DBT since 2010 and has completed many DBT trainings. Elana is excited to continue offering DBT for adults, families and adolescents at the DBT Center of the South Bay where she is working toward receiving her advanced DBT training. Elana completed her undergraduate degree from UCLA and her Master’s in Social Welfare from UC Berkeley. Since graduating, Elana has worked both in inpatient hospital settings as well as in outpatient clinics, including and currently at UCLA Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital.  Elana believes that each person’s pain is real and that DBT skills and techniques can successfully reduce the amount of suffering one experiences. Through her kindness, compassion and non-judgmental approach, Elana guides her clients to build a life worth living, even when pain exists.

  • Natasha Y. Vand, MA, MFTI, PCCI

    Natasha Vand is a registered Marriage and Family Therapist Intern and Professional Clinical Counselor Intern under the supervision of Kari Barker, MFT. She is dedicated towards inspiring and empowering clients, while helping them gain healthier relationships with themselves and others. Natasha provides individual therapy, co-leads skills training groups, and facilitates coaching. She works with adolescents, adults, couples, and families. Her experience includes working at Exodus Recovery’s outpatient facility and their in-patient psychiatric hospital, Bridges to Recovery’s residential mental health facilities, and the South Bay’s Community Helpline Center. She has experience working with mental health concerns, mood disorders, dual diagnoses, trauma, substance abuse, and social issues. Natasha holds great appreciation for the strength in her clients as they deal with life challenges. She is passionate about helping her clients create their very best self as well as healthy relationships in order to live a happier more fulfilled life.

  • Tiana Rogachevsky, M.A., M.F.T., Intern, P.C.C., Intern

    Tiana Rogachevsky is a registered Marriage and Family Therapist Intern under the supervision of Kari Barker, M.F.T. Tiana provides individual therapy, co-leads DBT skills training, and provides DBT coaching for adults, adolescents, and families. Tiana has provided therapeutic services to diverse populations, ranging from children on the autism spectrum to severely and chronically mentally ill adults, including those with co-occurring substance use disorders. Prior to becoming a program therapist at the DBT Center of the South Bay she provided individual therapy at the largest social services agency on the Westside of Los Angeles, Ocean Park Community Center, with a  harm-reduction focus. Tiana then worked as a DBT therapist at both Clearview’s Women’s Center for Borderline Personality and Emotional Disorders and Clearview’s Center for Addictions and Mental Health Disorders residential programs. She has completed a variety of training’s including a four-day intensive DBT training with Charles Swenson, M.D., DBT for Substance Use Disorders presented by Patricia Gieselman, M.F.T., and Working with Families of Emotionally Dysregulated Clients: A DBT Perspective Training, presented by Alan Fruzzetti, Ph.D. Tiana has also co-lead a National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder (NEA-BPD) Family Connections 12-week course, after receiving leadership training by Alan Fruzzeti, Ph.D. Tiana values building a strong therapeutic relationship with her clients and working collaboratively with them towards their life worth living goals. In treatment, She focuses on finding a balance of acceptance of the present and making strides towards ones values.



National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder (NEABPD)

Provides up to date information on borderline personality disorder

Resources for Family Connections support groups

Media library with videos and audio presentations about BPD

Resources for therapists who treat BPD

National Education Alliance Borderline Personality Disorder

National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI)

Grassroots organization to advocate for people with mental illness

Provides information about BPD

Notices about pilot studies and clinical trials

Highlights blog posts about PBD

National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI)

Treatment and Research Advancements Association for Personality Disorder

Advocates for treatment and research into Borderline Personality Disorder

Provides information about conferences and lectures on BPD

Updated articles and videos regarding advocacy for BPD

Treatment and Research Advancements Association for Personality Disorder

Behavioral Tech, LLC

Founded by Marsha Linehan as a training resource for therapists.

Provides online training and registration for on-site trainings for clinicians treating BPD.

Provides information and resources for clients and families

Online bookstore for resources related to providing DBT treatment

Behavioral Tech, LLC

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DBT Center of the South Bay
23717 Hawthorne Blvd.
Suite 102
Torrance, CA 90505

(310) 373-1823