Dialectical Behavior Therapy
DIALECTICAL BEHAVIOR THERAPY
DIALECTICAL BEHAVIOR THERAPY
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a cognitive behavioral treatment mixed with Eastern mindfulness practice that was originally developed to treat chronically suicidal individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and it is now recognized as the gold standard psychological treatment for this population. In addition, research has shown that it is effective in treating a wide range of other disorders such as substance dependence, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and eating disorders.
DBT skills training group is just one component of standard DBT treatment. DBT skills training group is focused on enhancing clients’ capabilities by teaching them behavioral skills. The group is run like a class where the group leader teaches the skills and assigns homework for clients to practice using the skills in their everyday lives. Groups meet on a weekly basis for approximately 1.5 hours and it takes 24 weeks to get through the full skills curriculum, which is often repeated to create a 1-year program. (Linehan Institue, 2018)
The goal of the emotional regulation module is to give clients skills to be able to understand and name emotions, decrease the frequency of unwanted emotions, decrease emotional vulnerability and suffering, increase mindfulness to current emotions, and increase positive emotional events. In layman’s terms, I tell clients the following when we start this module: “I want you to learn how to have a healthier relationship with your emotions so you do not feel they are in control of you.” At the end of this module clients understand how emotions work, how to change unwanted emotions, and how to effectively manage difficult emotions.
The Distress Tolerance module focuses on equipping clients with tools to get through crisis situations without “acting out”, or doing something that makes the situation worse. A crisis can be a situation that we cannot solve (the loss of a loved one, the end of a relationship), or a situation that we can solve but our emotions are so intense that they will not allow us to do so effectively. One of the main goals of Distress Tolerance is to learn how to move through incredibly painful circumstances that are beyond our control without putting a problem on top of a problem. We also learn how to de-escalate our emotions so we can utilize our problem solving skills for situations we can solve. DBT does this by teaching clients crisis survival skills and reality acceptance skills. We learn to become free from the urges and demands of intense emotions that occur during crisis situations.
Recognizing that relationships can be sources of both deep joy and pain, DBT includes Interpersonal Effectiveness skills. Clients are taught techniques to strengthen and repair healthy relationships, while also learning how to end hopeless ones. We learn to resolve conflict effectively, and acquire skills for finding and building new relationships. We learn to be skillful in getting what we need and want from others, as well as learning to say to no unwanted requests. This unit always proves to be a favorite!
Mindfulness is the practice of bringing your awareness to the present moment. I like to call it “getting your head where your feet are.” In a world of multitasking, we have trained our mind to be anywhere but here. What am I doing tonight after work? Did I remember to lock the front door? Don’t forget to send that email. How did my boss think my presentation went this morning? Our minds are constantly racing, which leaves little time for us to first notice what we are experiencing internally and secondly effectively respond to what is going on inside of us. Mindfulness combats this chaos by helping us increase control of our minds, which leads to a decrease in suffering and an increase in happiness. Mindfulness is so important that we begin each group with a mindfulness activity to get focused and present, ready for the group that is ahead of us. We come back to mindfulness for two weeks in between each unit, each time looking at a new skill set so we can continue to be more and more grounded in our present reality. (Marissa Churchill, 2018)
OUR DBT GROUPS
Tuesdays 6:15-7:45 pm
Thursdays 10:45-12:15 pm
Mondays 10:45-12:15 pm
Wednesdays 6:15-7:45 pm
Sundays 4:45-6:00 pm
High School Teens Group
Wednesdays 4:45-6:00 pm
Middle School Teens Group
Tuesdays 4:45-6:00 pm
How long is the group commitment?
DBT groups are a 24-week commitment with each module lasting 6 weeks. There is no particular time of year where you will need to begin, due to the circular nature of the course, you can join at any time and participate for 24 weeks to gain all of the necessary skills.
What is the cost?
The initial interview is $195 and each group is $67 with discounts for cash payment to $190 and $65, respectively. Sessions are charged weekly. Our providers are not in-network for any insurance panels, but we do provide superbills to our clients to submit to their own insurance companies toward their out of network benefits.
How can I join?
Please call our co-director, Dr. Tara Arnold, PhD, LCSW, CEDS-S, and leave a secure voicemail detailing your name, phone, and interest in DBT group therapy and she or one of her associates will reach out to set up the initial interview. The number to call is 404-964-6629 or you can send us an email through our Contact Us page!