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317: Understanding Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for Behavior Change - Maddy Ellberger

On Air with Ella - podcast episode 317

Maddy ellberger is ON AIR WITH ELLA podcast

Listen here (and everywhere you get podcasts):

We want to change our habits, we often know what to do...

So, why don't we change our behavior?

How can we really enact the changes we want for ourselves?

DBT might be the way.

In this episode, Maddy Ellberger shares how Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) works to help us break unhealthy cycles and create the life - and the habits - we want.

From over-drinking, over-spending, over-eating, over-working (all the overs!) to anxiety of all sorts, to under-performing/exercising/caring for ourselves (all the unders!)... we talk about DBT tools that can be applied to ANY lifestyle change we want to make.

Dialectical thinking allows that two opposing truths can exist at the same time.

At its core, DBT helps people build four major skills:

  1. Mindfulness

  2. Distress tolerance

  3. Interpersonal effectiveness

  4. Emotional regulation

In this episode:

  • What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)?

  • The key tenets of DBT

  • Asking ourselves: What is the function of the behavior?

  • Engaging in emotionally activating content when we need to stop spiraling / fixating

  • Building and engaging distress tolerance

  • Managing social anxiety (and anxiety at large) through DBT

  • Ella’s current challenge: consuming instead of creating

  • Creating an action and accountability plan

  • Avoidance behavior and its function

  • Creating an environment for success

  • “Coping ahead” and distress tolerance

  • Dialectical thinking and our desire for validation

  • The goal of DBT is to build a life worth living

"When we get overwhelmed, it usually means we feel like we can't take care of everything, and then we run away from it."


Maddy Ellberger

Maddy received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Yeshiva University and her Masters and Doctoral training in Clinical Social Work from Columbia University and New York University. She completed her internship at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital and Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, and her post-graduate training at The Center for Cognitive and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (CCDBT). Maddy has received extensive training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Prolonged Exposure and Cognitive Processing Therapy for trauma.

Prior to working in private practice, Maddy worked as a senior staff clinician and the director of trauma at CCDBT. At CCDBT, Maddy conducted diagnostic intake evaluations, provided individual CBT and DBT and co-led DBT skills groups for adolescents and adults. Maddy also served as a supervisor for pre-doctoral and post-doctoral trainees in both DBT and evidenced-based trauma treatment. Serving as an Executive Mindfulness Trainer within CCDBT’s Corporate Mindfulness Training program, Maddy led mindfulness workshops in various settings and co-led CCDBT’s 8 week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course. In addition to her clinical work, she currently serves as an adjunct professor at Columbia University in their DBT training track.


Questions? Contact me

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xxoo Ella


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