Private DBT Skills Training Integrated into Your Therapy
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT for short) is a professional level, skills-based approach to improved mental health. Marsha Linehan, Ph.D., is the developer of DBT. The approach has been well researched and there are reams of research showing DBT’s efficacy.
The overall goal of DBT is to help reduce emotional suffering and to help build a life worth living.
The DBT curriculum is composed of four modules of skills:
Module One: Mindfulness
Module Two: Distress Tolerance
Module Three: Emotional Regulation
Module Four: Interpersonal Effectiveness
In full treatment programs, the four modules are taught in a group format, over a period of six months. It’s recommended that the client take the full curriculum twice. In other words, clients stay in the program for at least a year, as it takes time to absorb and learn to use DBT skills. This six-month, twice in a year model is used in hospitals, recovery programs and intensive outpatient programs worldwide.
In private practice, the DBT skills are taught over a period of time, about 4 – 6 months, and we review skills as needed by the individual.
Mindfulness is central to the DBT skillset. The goal of mindfulness is to reduce suffering and increase happiness by focusing the mind and learning to experience react as it is, not like we might want to manipulate it to be. Mindfulness underlies and supports all the other DBT skills. Mindfulness is discussed and practiced at every session. There are realms of research on how mindfulness reduces anxiety, depression and improves mental and physical health. Mindfulness is the art and practice of focusing the mind without judgement and without attachment. We can live life mindfully, participating in our activities as opposed to doing things on automatic, with rigidity or trying to control outcomes.
Distress Tolerance is all about getting through a crisis without making things worse. Distress tolerance skills are for learning how to tolerate intensely painful short-term events, urges and emotions when you can’t make things better right away. They are hanging on before the end of the rope skills. Using Wise Mind and Radical Acceptance are both states of mind that are a synthesis of mindfulness and distress tolerance skills.
Emotional regulation skills are all about reducing emotional suffering, by learning to understand where emotions come from (the biopsychosocial model), how to name describe and name them, learning to accepting your level of emotionality and learning to manage your emotions with some specific skills.
Interpersonal effectiveness is about acquiring the skills to understanding relationships and what the difference is between a healthy and an unhealthy relationship. It is also about acquiring the skills to negotiate while retaining your own self-respect and respecting others.
When you come into my practice wanting to use DBT, I ask you to make a four to six month commitment and to purchase the
Useful DBT Skills Training articles:
Information About Other Approaches