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DBT Skills Groups

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DBT Skills Groups

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is becoming a more widely known therapeutic approach and sparking more and more interest from the masses.  I believe it is because of the extensive and consistently positive outcome data from the research which shows the efficacy and benefit of this approach to ameliorate all symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder and more recently other disorders like mood disorders, binge eating disorders, substance abuse disorders, trauma related disorders, and more.

One of the main components of an adherent DBT model is participating in the skills group.  The objective of this group is to teach evidenced based skills to help clients use these in replacement of problematic behaviors/coping responses.

I learned about DBT back in 2004 and found myself using the skills for my own benefit and for a variety of client issues in my practice.  Over the years I have come to love these skills.  They are easy to recall, easy to follow and most importantly-they work!

Over the years since DBT was introduced to the public further research has shown how the DBT skills group alone can help a variety of people with emotional challenges like depression, and anxiety.

The skills covered in a DBT skills group include: Mindfulness (in our program we cover these the first two weeks of every six week interval); Emotional Regulation; Distress Tolerance and Interpersonal Effectiveness.  Our groups cover ONE of the remaining three core skills for the subsequent four weeks of a six-week interval.  So each group interval will cover two DBT skills.

In our practice, mindfulness is always covered in the first two weeks of every interval because it is a foundational skill and ultimately the gateway to effective coping with the other core skills.  I personally continue to learn and gain new insights of mindfulness practice, and application.

The benefits of participating in a DBT Skills Group include: learning effective coping strategies, enhancing interpersonal skills, managing intense emotions, and opportunity to practice skills that can improve overall emotional wellbeing.  In group, participants get to see various ways and scenarios where each skill can help a person.  Additionally, for teens this environment allows them to experience that their challenges are not unique and that support is available to them.

For teens, we offer in-person and virtual DBT Skills Groups and for parents (that need help helping their teens) and for adults we offer virtual DBT Skills Groups.

Our groups set expectations and provide guidance in the very first week on what material participants should share and what kind of discussions are appropriate.  We require our participants to collaborate in supporting each other to improve coping strategies.  And we ask our participants to use material from their natural environment that anyone can relate to. So we say, “if you have a situation that caused an emotional reaction of intensity that you would rate between a 5-10 out of 10, this is not useful for us to include in our groups. Rather we would want you to use scenarios that resulted in an emotional response closer to a 3-4 out of 10 in emotional intensity.  This way anyone in the group can relate and everyone can see how a particular skill we are learning could be applied and could benefit the situation.”  The analogy I like to use with parents when discussing their concern about what is being shared in the groups is that: “if we were teaching tennis skills we would not want any one participant to slam balls into the court, rather we would want simple volleys so that we could build a level of competence before sending a player out to get slammed by a ball.”

Marsha Linehan, the developer of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) (Please hyperlink this phrase to the DBT service page), considers these skills “life skills” that everyone should learn, and I would absolutely agree.  If you are considering joining a DBT skills group, and have more questions, we would be happy to schedule a complimentary consultation (please hyperlink this to the contact page) to help you determine if our groups are right for you or for your teen.

Tammy Berman is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, National Board Certified Counselor and extensively trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy.  She uses this modality with many of her clients and finds great value in the approach.

We proudly serve Plantation, Broward County, and the State of Florida.
Call us to learn more, today! (954) 477-7455

My Counseling Connections

Licensed Mental Health Counselors and Marriage & Family Therapy Professionals.
817 South University Drive, Suite 121
Plantation, FL 33324