Psychological Science Faculty Publications and Presentations

Culturally Adapted Dialectical Behavior Therapy in an Underserved Community Mental Health Setting: A Latina Adult Case Study

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Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) has become the treatment of choice for complex clinical disorders. However, there is lack of evidence supporting this approach with culturally diverse groups, and its availability in community mental health settings is scarce. This case study highlights the applicability and effectiveness of a Spanish DBT skills program with a 45-year-old Latina female diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and dysthymic disorder at a community mental health program and explores whether a cultural adaptation of DBT is warranted. This case study included case history, pre- and posttest measures (Beck Depression Inventory [BDI-II], Beck Anxiety Inventory [BAI], Beck Hopelessness Scale [BHS], and Personality Assessment Inventory [PAI]), and monitored client’s progress during a 17-week Spanish DBT group skills program. Findings: Results indicated that DBT skills, when delivered in a culturally responsive manner, had a positive impact in reducing client symptomology and improving interpersonal effectiveness. Findings provided support for cultural adaptation of the empirically supported DBT treatment protocol for a Latina woman who had been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and dysthymia in a Spanish community mental health setting. Clinical implications and recommendations for clinicians and psychology trainees highlight the importance of providing supplemental and culturally sensitive interventions to an existing outpatient mental treatment program as it enhances treatment efficacy.


© 2017 American Psychological Association

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Practice Innovations