Get Started


Portland DBT Institute (PDBTI) is committed to clinical excellence and to comprehensive delivery of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). As a client and member of PDBTI, you can expect that your providers have received the highest standard of training in DBT from a DBT expert. As a member of our clinic, you can expect that we will go the extra mile for you and with you in the service of building a life worth living.  We are excited to have you get started with us- the electronic (or paper) referral form is right below these Frequently Asked Questions about the referral process!

If you have questions about referring for our Intensive Outpatient Program for Eating Disorders (EDIOP), please contact our Community Relations Liaison, Christopher Williams at (503) 290-3295 or email at


How long can I expect to wait before starting services?
Currently, the wait for starting with an individual therapist as part of the standard DBT program is six to nine months. The amount of wait time can also depend on how many therapists have availability, how many therapists are available at the same times you are, and meeting other requirements you may have for a therapist. (For example, if you are looking for appointments only after 5pm and would like to see a male individual therapist, you may experience a longer wait time). In general, the less restrictions you have, the faster we can place you! You can also start skills training right away rather than waiting for a therapist- indicate on our referral form you are interested in this option (called “Enhanced Skills Training” or “EST” on the referral form). In our EST program, you join an adherent DBT skills group led by expert skills trainers, and you can generally start this group within a few weeks of referral (or 1-2 months for teens)! It’s a great way to get started learning DBT skills right away.

I’m in a crisis now (or my loved one is), what do I do?
We truly wish we could serve everyone who contacts us immediately and we view access to effective evidence based mental health services as essential. At the same time, we are not able to offer immediate crisis services for individuals who are not in our program. We suggest making use of Lines For Life, your county crisis line, the national suicide lifeline, or the Unity Center in the meantime. You can also take a look at DBT web resources such as,, or

Do I need to get authorization from my insurance company?
We are proud to be in-network with the most major commercial insurance companies, as well as Federal Medicare and Medicaid/Oregon Health Plan (OHP). While many plans typically do not require any special pre-authorizations, there are a few exceptions (and we always encourage clients to contact their health plan to get information on your benefits and any authorization requirements). We do need pre-authorization for services for anyone using the Oregon Health Plan (each county/plan has a different process- please contact your OHP plan for details) and for Kaiser (please call member services or talk with your current Kaiser therapist). If you’re unsure whether you or your provider need to obtain pre-authorization before coming to PDBTI, please contact your insurance plan’s customer service department (look for a phone number of the back of your insurance card).

What is the membership fee?
Members of our programs pay an initiation fee of $75.00*. Payment is due upon completion of your assessment and after you have reviewed and accepted your treatment plan, before starting treatment services. These fees allow our treatment teams to provide comprehensive, specialized and personalized care throughout your treatment, and access expert supervision and consultation- all activities which are not typically covered by health insurance reimbursement. In addition, the membership fee gives you all the materials you need for our skills groups.
*Membership will automatically be granted, and no membership fee is collected for clients with Kaiser HMO plans or the Oregon Health Plan as a benefit of their health plan coverage.

How long does it take to process my referral?
We typically review referrals within 24-48 business hours. A member of our Intake Team will phone you within 5-10 business days to go over your referral information and discuss treatment options. If you have not received a call within 10 business days of your referral submission, please reach out to us for assistance. You can call our Intake Department at 503-290-3291.

Let’s Get Started

1. The first step is to fill-out our secure electronic referral form. If you prefer, you may print and fax our printable referral form to our secure fax line 503-231-8153.

Electronic Referral Form Printable Referral Form

2. We typically review referrals within 24-48 business hours. A member of our Intake Team will phone you within 5-10 business days to review your referral information and discuss treatment options. :  This may include joining the DBT Enhanced Skills Training program while you are working with your outside provider

3. Once you are matched with a therapist, you will receive a call from your therapist to schedule you for your assessment.

One of our highest held values is to provide access to effective mental health services with as few barriers as possible. If at any time during the process of getting started with us there are questions about the process, please contact our Intake Coordinators – Brianna Johnson, Sierra Howell, or Christopher Williams by email at, or by phone at (503) 290-3291.