Dialectical behavior therapy in the Asia-Pacific Rim region

Jiann Lin Loo, Shian Ling Keng, Iizax Gisela Ramírez-Espinosa, Noor Melissa Nor Hadi, José Angel Ramírez-Gutiérrez, Wendy Shoesmith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Borderline personality disorder (BPD) contributes to suicide-related morbidity and mortality and requires more intensive psychotherapeutic resources due to its high mental health service usage. Accessibility to an evidence-based treatment program is a cornerstone to support patients with BPD and part of broader suicide prevention efforts as well as improving their quality of life. Aims: In this article, the authors aim to discuss and review available dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and DBT-informed services of selected countries in the Asia-Pacific Rim, namely Singapore, Malaysia, and Mexico. Materials & Methods: We contacted providers of different services and gathered information on the process of setting up the service and adapting the treatment, in addition to reviewing the available literature published in the countries. Results: To date, there have been a pair of DBT-informed services in Singapore, four in Malaysia, and several in Mexico with a few of them offering standard DBT. Different efforts have been put in place to increase the accessibility to training and also the number of DBT practitioners. Discussion: Important considerations during the process of setting up new services include the use of domestic examples and local language that are contextually appropriate for the local community. Selected challenges faced in common include shortage of workforce, affordability of training programs, and the need for language adaptation with or without translation. Conclusion: Further long-term evaluation of locally adapted DBT-informed mental health services will help to elucidate the effectiveness and efficacy of the program which will potentially serve as a guide for other resource-scarce regions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12437
Number of pages6
JournalAsia-Pacific Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • adaptation
  • Asia-Pacific
  • DBT
  • dialectical behavior therapy
  • third-wave therapies

Cite this