• 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.

    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!

  • Friends and Family Group: Learn to ride the waves of life together as we learn to balance acceptance and change.

    Learn about DBT’s biosocial theory and maintenance of your loved one’s problems

    Learn DBT based skills around mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness

    Learn ways to balance validation (focusing on acceptance) and problem-solving (focus on change)

    Decrease feelings of isolation, loneliness, and hopelessness

    Discuss loved ones’ high risk behaviors and how to be effective in dealing with behaviors

  • 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

  • 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

  • Our Individual Sessions

    per 50-minute hour
    • Individual Session
  • DBT Skills Training Groups

    per group session
    • Adult DBT Skills Training Group
    • Advanced DBT Skills Training Group
  • Family Skills

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

Our blog

  • May 22, 2019 • Blog

    Forgiveness Meditation

    There are three types of forgiveness: Forgiving Ourselves, Forgiving Others, and Asking for

  • May 17, 2019 • Blog

    Therapy Expectations…

    Some people don’t know what to anticipate when going into their first therapy appointment. There

  • May 14, 2019 • Blog

    Validate, Validate, Validate

    Validation brings people closer through empathy and understanding. You do not have to agree with

  • May 12, 2019 • Blog

    Laugh a Bit, Wont You?

    Humor is a skill and Andrew Tarvinwants to encourage you to be more funny. He shares the many

  • May 7, 2019 • Blog

    Do You Lo-fi?

    I have been pretty obsessed with the Lo-fi YouTube radio stations. Lo-fi music is a genre of music

  • May 5, 2019 • Blog

    Tolerate Distress

    Distress comes in many forms and Dialectical Behavior Therapy has compiled a variety of skills to

View all



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., LMFT

    Kari Barker is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and is the founder and Director of the DBT Center of the South Bay. She 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 along with advanced DBT training in treating trauma with Prolonged Exposure therapy by Melanie Harned, PhD, DBT PE Treatment Developer. She has also 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 five 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., LCSW

    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 continues to learn by attending an Advanced DBT training on Exposure Therapy for trauma, the annual Is It DBT conference and weekly team consultation. 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 becoming a DBT certified therapist. 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 Behavioral Health Services. Elana believes that each person’s pain is real and that DBT skills and techniques can successfully reduce the amount of suffering a person experiences. Through her kindness, compassion and non-judgmental approach, Elana guides her clients to build a life worth living, even when pain exists.

  • Tiana Rogachevsky, M.A., LMFT

    Tiana Rogachevsky is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has been applying DBT skills to her personal life and using DBT adherently with her clients since 2011. 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 one’s values.

  • Jasmynn Smith, M.A., LMFT

    Jasmynn Smith is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who is passionate about helping individuals, couples, and families to identify and work towards personal goals to create and maintain a life worth living. She attended UC Riverside for her undergraduate degree and she earned her Master of Arts degree in clinical psychology with a focus in marriage and family therapy from Pepperdine University in 2012. Jasmynn began studying DBT in 2013 as a Community Counselor at Clearview Women’s Center for Borderline Personality and Emotional Disorders, where she provided DBT skills coaching and co-facilitated life and program goals groups. Before joining the Center, Jasmynn worked extensively with adolescents and families in the community mental health setting, where she helped families navigate issues related to trauma, foster and adoption, parenting needs, depression, and social anxiety. She has also worked in the school-based setting with teens with developmental and intellectual special needs, emotion regulation difficulties, and autism spectrum disorder. Jasmynn is compassionate and understanding of the difficulties that come with emotional pain and challenging relationships. She believes that, with the proper tools, her clients can develop resilience and an ability to navigate life challenges with hope and strength.

  • Natasha Vand, M.A., LMFT

    Natasha Vand is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who is dedicated toward inspiring and empowering people, while helping them gain healthier relationships with themselves and others. Natasha enjoys working with adults, adolescents, and families, while providing individual therapy, DBT skills training, and DBT phone coaching for her clients.  Her experience includes working at Bridges to Recovery’s residential mental health facilities, Exodus Recovery’s outpatient facility and their in-patient psychiatric hospital, and in private practice.  She has experience working with mental health concerns, mood disorders, dual diagnoses, trauma, substance abuse, and social issues.  Natasha has received intensive DBT training by Patricia Gieselman, MFT, and has had advanced DBT training in treating trauma through Prolonged Exposure Therapy, trained by Shari Manning, PhD. She too continues to learn by attending advanced DBT trainings and attending the annual Is It DBT conference, all in addition to weekly team consultations. Natasha holds great appreciation for the strength within each of her clients as they deal with challenges in life. She is passionate about helping her clients build their very best self so that they can work toward their goals of a more fulfilling life that is worth living.

  • Dabney Worth, M.S.W., LCSW

    Dabney Worth has been a clinical social worker for over 30 years working with individuals, couples, and families from diverse cultures in a variety of therapeutic settings. She has been licensed in both Arizona and the Virgin Islands. Dabney has experience working in the inpatient psychiatric setting and hospice care working with terminally ill patients and family members. Prior to joining the team at the DBT Center of the South Bay, she worked in private practice in the Virgin Islands with an integrated psychiatric team. Her recent work has been with individuals dealing with mood and personality disorders, co-occurring substance abuse, grief and loss, and chronic mental illness. Dabney has specialized training in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) for the treatment of trauma. She believes in the effectiveness of DBT as she has seen her clients grow towards their goals while balancing acceptance and change in their lives. Her goal is to create a non-judgmental atmosphere where clients feel comfortable to examine life as it is being lived and bring about change to experience the life they want to live.

Employment Opportunities

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

(310) 373-1823


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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Contact us for more information about our program and services. We will get back to you within 1 business day. We look forward to hearing from you.

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

(310) 373-1823