DBT Skills Training Group

dbt-skills-training-group-innerDBT Skills Training Group is focused on enhancing clients' capabilities by teaching them behavioral skills. Our emotionally sensitive Compass kids are likened to “manual transmissions” in a world full of automatics. Key emotion regulation skills that happen “automatically” for neuro-typical kids need to be broken down into teachable steps that teach our non-neuro-typical kids how to “manually shift” out of emotions they tend to get stuck in (i.e. sadness, anxiety, agitation). DBT Skills Training Group is likened to “Driver’s Ed” for your child’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors complete with modules that will walk your child step by step through learning how to “drive themselves” more skillfully.

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 2 hours and it takes approximately 28 weeks to get through the full skills curriculum, which is often repeated to create a 1-year program. The essential skills taught in an adolescent group are geared towards specific age groups and represent these crucial skills:

  • Mindfulness:the practice of being fully aware and present in this one moment
  • Dialectics: the ability to move away from all or nothing thinking and absolutes towards the middle path of cognitive flexibility
  • Distress Tolerance:how to tolerate pain in difficult situations, not change it
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness:how to ask for what you want and say no while maintaining self-respect and relationships with others
  • Emotion Regulation:how to change emotions that you want to change
  • Self-Management: the ability to shape one’s own mood dependent behavior towards goal directed behavior

Goals of DBT Skills Training Group

Behaviors to Decrease

  • Mindlessness, being out-of-touch with self and others
  • Interpersonal problems and stress, loneliness, conflicts with others
  • Absence of flexibility, difficulties with change and stress
  • Labile (up and down) emotions, mood-dependent responses
  • Impulsiveness, acting without thinking,
  • Urges to avoid the present situation

Behaviors to Increase

  • Core mindfulness skills
  • Interpersonal effectiveness skills
  • Walking the Middle Path skills
  • Emotion regulation skills
  • Distress tolerance skills

For more information on how DBT skills groups work, click here