Comprehensive DBT programmes

Offering a Comprehensive Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) programme for adult women with complex personality disorders, Ashby, formerly Spring Hill House, offers a modern environment for DBT rehabilitation. Ashby is located within Isham House on our Northampton site. The move is the first step in our plan to bring our DBT services for women under one roof, consolidating our wards and expert clinical teams in one specialist DBT hub

Ashby is a comprehensive dialectical behaviour (DBT) ward, specifically for the treatment of women over the age of 18 with a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder (BPD), complex mental health needs and challenging behaviour. Building on a proven track record of innovation in the delivery of DBT, synonymous with Spring Hill House, the programme on Ashby is designed to support women to understand their emotional and behavioural difficulties, encourage them to accept reality as it is 'in the moment', and help them to build skills for independent community living. 

For 25 years we have provided specialist care for women with borderline personality disorder and complex mental health needs. We were among the first to have therapists accredited by the Society for DBT and our MDT consists of established, specialist DBT therapists.

Admission criteria

Women over the age of 18 who have:

  • severe emotional and behavioural difficulties but with a primary diagnosis of borderline personality disorder
  • problem behaviours that are likely to include: self- harm, suicidal behaviour, violence towards others, problems in interpersonal relationships, substance misuse, self- neglect, fire setting and non-compliance with prescribed medication
  • treatment resistance
  • been detained under either civil or criminal provisions of the Mental Health Act 1983 (amended 2007)
  • a high risk to themselves or others.

Treatment and care

Our comprehensive DBT programme was one of the first DBT programmes to be used in an inpatient setting in the UK.

DBT is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) designed for individuals with complex needs. It integrates strategies from CBT with strategies of accepting reality as it is ‘in the moment’ (mindfulness).

Our treatment programme includes all five functions of a comprehensive DBT programme:
• enhancing capabilities - twice weekly skills training groups
• enhancing motivation - weekly individual therapy sessions
• ensuring generalisation - skills coaching
• structuring the environment - homework groups community meetings and staff training
• DBT consultation - (with peer group supervision) for the DBT therapists delivering treatment.

Ashby in Isham House benefits from being embedded within the local community of Northampton, and is close enough to utilise all the facilities that the Northampton main site has to offer including our Workbridge vocational pathway.

Next steps

Discharge is considered from admission and our clinical and social work teams work with appropriate case managers to support safe and successful transition.

At the point of discharge, patients at Ashby will have successfully gained skills through the structured DBT programme. This enables them to address the cycle of behaviours and suffering associated with BPD in order to make a successful transition back into the community.

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