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: paying attention on purpose in the present moment nonjudgmentally
  • Dialectics: the ability to move away from all or nothing thinking and absolutes towards the middle path of cognitive flexibility
  • Distress Tolerance: tolerating pain in difficult situations and navigating crisis situations without making things worse
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness: effectively asking for what you want, or saying no to an unwanted request, while maintaining the relationship and self-respect
  • Emotion Regulation: understanding the function of emotions while changing emotional responses and increasing emotional resiliency
  • Self-Management: the ability to shape one’s 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- stress, loneliness and 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