Access our DBT Primer Program

The DBT Primer pgram has been developed using a Trauma-Informed Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT-TI) framework. The goal of these sessions is to connect individuals with a range of personal resources to increase their capacity to function at a level where impulsivity and distress are reduced. In addition, orientation to a full DBT or RO DBT program is an additional goal of this program!


The DBT Primer Program was developed from the research of Dr. Peter King at the Australian DBT Institute which has been informed by translational research into the effectiveness of DBT programs. Participants in the DBT Primer Program will need a comment to five weeks of individual therapy and group sessions, attending a total of 10 sessions. Sessions include an assessment/planning session, 5 x group sessions, 3 x individual sessions, and a final review session. 


Individuals can choose to attend the sessions either online or in person at Essentia Health’s Melbourne Clinic (Brighton) or our Sydney Clinic (Mona Vale).


What are the possible benefits of taking part? 

Participating in the DBT Primer Program may offer several benefits to participants: 

    • -Preparedness: By taking part in the program, you will become well-prepared for a full DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy) program. This preparation can help you understand the therapy better and be ready to make the most of a DBT program.
    • – Support: You will receive support from individual therapists and group sessions, which can be valuable in managing emotional challenges and building better-coping skills.
    • – Therapeutic Skills: You will learn essential skills, such as mindfulness, crisis management, and identifying personal resources, which can be beneficial in your daily life and emotional well-being.
    • – Improved Mental Health: Participation can lead to improvements in your mental health and emotional well-being. It provides an opportunity to work on issues and concerns with the help of trained professionals.
    • – Low Cost or NDIS Access: All the sessions are offered with reduced fees for individuals not able to access the NDIS, ensuring access to valuable resources without a financial burden.
    • – Better Outcomes: Being well-prepared and supported before entering a full DBT program can lead to more successful outcomes and a higher likelihood of achieving your therapeutic goals. 

Components of the DBT Primer Program

This session is with an individual therapist completing self-reporting tools, crisis management plan and identify treatment targets and therapeutic goals.

The five skills class sessions begin following the initial assessment session with each class being between 60-70 minutes. Skills taught include mindfulness, grounding, recognising individual resources, memory gems, and ripple effect.

Three sessions with an individual therapist reviewing group content and exploring five key elements of DBT (Crisis Management Plan, Diary Card, Missing Links Analysis, Chain Analysis and Phone Coaching).

Final session with an individual therapist to complete self-reporting tools, crisis management plan and finalise any referrals for ongoing support. If an individual is to commence a DBT or RO DBT program with DBT Clinics an initial session with their ongoing individual therapist will be made during the final session of this program.

DBT Primer Individual Therapists

Locations: Sydney & Telehealth 


Accepts NDIS Referrals Only for the DBT Primer program. 


Kelly is an experienced Psychologist who is also the clinical lead of Essentia Health’s Sydney clinic and Sydney DBT programs. She is intensively trained in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy and Radically Open DBT. As part of the Australian DBT Institute’s National DBT leadership team, Kelly completed the Level 3 blended learning practitioner training program in Radically Open DBT and receives ongoing mentoring and development in DBT and RO DBT.

Kelly provides both individual therapy and facilitates skills programs in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and Radically Open DBT (RO DBT). Kelly’s approach includes support to individuals who present with diagnostic presentations such as borderline personality disorder, substance misuse disorders, binge eating, ADHD, and bipolar are considered the spectrum of disorders characterised by emotion dysregulation or undercontrol (UC).


To be eligible for rebates from Medicare a Mental Health Care Plan is required before seeing Kelly for individual therapy beyond the DBT Primer Program at Essentia Health Clinic.


Kelly’s Profile:

Locations: Telehealth Only at present


Accepts NDIS Referrals & Low Cost Clinic Referrrals for the DBT Primer program. 


Dr. King is an experienced clinician and educator with over 25 years of experience in various public, community, and private mental health settings. Since 1993, Peter has worked in Mental Health Nursing, Social Work, DBT Programs, Psychotherapy, and as a Senior Executive in the health care and not-for-profit sector. Peter has consolidated this experience both in Australia and the USA through mentoring with Marsha Linehan’s company Behavioral Tech LLC, mentoring with the creator of Somatic Trauma Therapy – Babette Rothschild, leading clinical research, and has completed Ph.D. in the mental health field. He also recently completed Level 3 training in Radically Open DBT and is part of the International RO Clinical Scholar program.


Profile link:

Locations: Telehealth 


Accepts NDIS Referrals Only for the DBT Primer program. 


Jacklyn is a Credentialed Mental Health Social Worker and Credentialed DBT Practitioner who facilitates DBT programs, provides clinical supervision and individual therapy.


Jacklyn’s professional interests includes providing effective therapeutic interventions to individuals, families and couples of all age groups including children, adolescents and adults presenting with with a range of mental health issues including anxiety disorders, depression, drugs and alcohol, grief and loss and Borderline Personality Disorder.


Jacklyn is trained in a variety of therapeutic approaches including Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Somatic Trauma Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Motivational Interviewing and Mindfulness based interventions. Jacklyn provides psychotherapy from an evidence based framework, and continues to engage in professional development to support his clinical practice.


Jacklyn has completed a Master in Social Work and Master of Health Services management. She is endorsed as a mental health social worker. To be eligible for rebates from Medicare a Mental Health Care Plan is required before seeing Jacklyn for individual therapy beyond the DBT Primer Program at Essentia Health Clinic.

Locations: Telehealth Only at present


Accepts Low Cost Clinic Referrrals for the DBT Primer program. 


Jen is an experienced DBT facilitator and has been delivering DBT Skills training since 2020.

Jennifer has completed intensive training in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and Somatic Trauma Therapy. She is a sort after therapist in DBT having led many of the Australian DBT Institute’s DBT programs.

Cost of the DBT Primer Program

We have three options for the DBT Primer Program.

  • – NDIS Funded participants (fees charged at NDIS rates for 5 individual and 5 group sessions)
  • – Privately Funded Fees for individuals who are not eligible for the NDIS the fee structure is as follows.
    • – 5 x $50 for individual therapy sessions
    • – 5 x $40 for group therapy sessions
    • – Weeky payment arrangements via direct debit to credit/debit cards and/or upfront payment discounts available via DBT Assist at
  • – Other funded fees (WorkCover, Open Arms and Redress Scheme) are charged at the rates agreed upon in service agreements with our clinicians.

Further information

Goals of the DBT Primer Program:
  • – To decrease life-threatening behaviours (e.g. self-injurious behaviour, suicidal thoughts, family violence, threats and/or attempts)
  • – To increase personal coping skills
  • Improved quality of life
  • Improve overall stabilisation and capacity to engage further therapy (if individuals choose to engage in deeper therapy)


Participant Expectations: 
  • Attend all sessions and commit to individual therapy sessions on an ongoing basis (the individual therapist does not have to be from the Australian DBT Institute).
  • Complete session/weekly/daily tasks for homework (task identified in each session and the frequency of these tasks is determined in consultation with each individual therapist)
  • – If you attend these sessions as part of a group, abide by the guidelines of the program including: not entering relationships with other participants (if being run in a group setting), not attending intoxicated or hungover and being on time
  • Complete the assessment and orientation sessions before the commencement of the 5 skills development sessions.

Inclusion Criteria:

  • – Individuals who have the commitment to ongoing individual therapy
  • – Individuals who experience several of the following:
    • – Life-threatening behaviours
    • – Quality-of-life interfering behaviours
    • – Recurrent suicidal thoughts or attempts
    • – Difficulty in interpersonal relationships
    • – Frequent mood swings
    • – Intense fear of abandonment
    • – Sense of emptiness or confusion about self
    • – Family conflict


Exclusion Criteria:

  • – Individuals who are actively suicidal, homicidal, or in need of mental health crisis service rather than a stabilisation service.
  • – When the safety of facilitators or participants cannot be assured
  • – Individuals with active episodes of psychosis, visual and/or auditory hallucinations that impact functioning
  • – Individuals with cognitive impairment which impacts their capacity for insight and new learning 

Referral Form

If you currently have a Psychologist, Social Worker or Counsellor please provide their details. If you do not have a therapist please type "No current therapist"
Choose your preferred days and times for appointments above.
Click or drag files to this area to upload. You can upload up to 5 files.
If you have any referral information it is always useful to provide this information to support our intake processes.