Treating insanity acquittees with personality disorders: Implementing dialectical behavior therapy in a forensic hospital

Michael J. Vitacco, Gregory J. Van Rybroek

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

3 Scopus citations


Treating personality disordered patients in forensic settings is a daunting task for mental health practitioners. Such patients are frequently violent and disruptive to traditional treatment programs. Given this diagnostic group, forensic programs must implement specialized treatment for patients with borderline and antisocial personality disorders that demonstrate effectiveness in reducing violence and assist in preparing patients for potential release back to the community. In addition, treatment programs should enhance institution safety. This paper provides a theoretical backdrop for implementing dialectical behavior therapy in forensic settings. We outline how this treatment provides a core set of skills consistent with the goals of the forensic hospital and the individual patient. Furthermore, we provide a foundation for applying dialectical behavior therapy with insanity acquittees.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Forensic Psychology Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 13 2006
Externally publishedYes



  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Forensic treatment
  • Personality disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Applied Psychology

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