DBT: Acceptance and Change

with Dr. Zahra Murtaza and Dr. Sarah Griest

DBT: Acceptance and Change

Episode 20, Season 3 | May 15, 2023

Show Notes

Studies indicate that Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is “the best tool we have” for self-harming and suicidal adolescents. So what is it and why is it so effective? DBT teaches important social-emotional and resilience skills for life enhancement. Based on the dialectic of acceptance and change, skills include mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, communication, emotion regulation and distress tolerance. In today’s podcast episode, we talk with CHC’s Catherine T. Harvey Center for Clinical Services experts, Dr. Zahra Murtaza, Ravenswood Coordinator and Psychologist and Dr. Sarah Griest, RISE IOP clinician to learn more about this gold-standard treatment for building a life worth living.

Guest Info

Dr. Murtaza is the Ravenswood Program Coordinator and a Staff Psychologist at CHC who is passionate about working with diverse children, adolescents and families through a framework of evidence-based practice and cultural humility. She entered the field of psychology with a desire to reduce mental health disparities and promote resilience in every client and family with whom she works. Dr. Murtaza received her BA from the University of California, Berkeley, double majoring in Psychology and Political Economy and minoring in Global Poverty and Practice. She proceeded to obtain her MA and PhD in Clinical-Community Psychology at Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA. Dr. Murtaza completed her APA-accredited Psychology Predoctoral Internship at the USC/UCEDD at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). She proceeded to complete her Postdoctoral Fellowship at CHC, where she received specialized training in comprehensive DBT, focusing on the treatment of adolescents who experience self-harm and/or suicidal thoughts/behaviors.


Throughout her training, Dr. Murtaza has worked with children, teens, young adults, adults and families with a range of presenting problems, including anxiety, depression, self-harm/suicidality, ADHD, behavioral challenges, trauma and adjustment difficulties. She has conducted individual, group and family therapy, psychological assessment, consultation-liaison work, program evaluation and outreach in a variety of settings, including outpatient community mental health clinics, a college counseling center and pediatric hospitals. Dr. Murtaza has provided these services in multiple languages including English, Urdu/Hindi, and Spanish.


Dr. Murtaza has received clinical training in several therapeutic modalities, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), interpersonal therapy, solution-focused therapy, trauma-focused CBT (TF-CBT) and multicultural therapy approaches. During her internship year at CHLA, she received specialized training in Trauma Psychology and also completed the California Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (CA-LEND) Interdisciplinary Training Program to enhance her competency in working with children with developmental disabilities.


In her spare time, Dr. Murtaza enjoys hiking, traveling, learning to cook new recipes, and spending quality time with her family, friends and cat.

Sarah is a RISE IOP Clinician with experience providing therapy and assessment to children, adolescents, and families with difficulties related to anxiety, depression, ADHD and neurodiversity, LGBTQIA+ identities and other social-emotional or behavioral challenges. Clinically, Sarah aims to create a collaborative space for families and youth to feel safe, understood and supported while working together toward their goals.


Sarah completed her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology with the PGSP-Stanford PsyD Consortium, and wrote her dissertation about impulsivity in ADHD youth. She received extensive training in neuropsychological assessments, and evidence-based therapeutic methodologies, such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), in a variety of settings.


Born and raised in the Bay Area, Sarah is excited to be working with the community she knows and loves. Outside of work, Sarah enjoys camping, board games, volleyball and art projects!