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Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is an evidence based psychotherapy that is the treatment of choice for a wide range of mental health problems, including difficulties with mood and emotion regulation, impulse control problems, and a variety of self-destructive behaviors. 

DBT is a comprehensive treatment approach that has been rigorously evaluated for effectiveness, incorporating individual and group psychotherapy, as well as consultation for the treatment team. It combines behavioral principles with a strong focus on validation, and is conceptually rooted in dialectical thinking, which seeks to find the balance and points of agreement between conflicting ideas.

Dialectical thinking assists therapists and clients to balance acceptance of current life circumstances while working to change specific aspects or behaviors. DBT also assumes that clients have developed self-destructive behaviors as learned behaviors to manage intense, overwhelming emotions.

DBT Offers Hope and Change

DBT was originally developed by psychologist Dr. Marsha Linehan at Washington University to treat patients with chronic or recurrent suicidal thoughts and/or self-injurious behaviors. DBT is now widely accepted as the single most effective form of treatment for individuals who struggle with suicidal or self-injury behaviors. Many of these patients have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, which carries significant stigma and the impression of limited hope for improvement. 

DBT has offered hope and true change for many patients who previously believed the intensity of their problems were beyond help. It also provides specific, proven tools for professionals who are offering treatment. During the time since DBT was originally developed as a treatment, it has also been demonstrated to be effective with a wide variety of presenting problems, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, substance abuse and other concerns.

DBT is now also recognized as a treatment worthy of promotion at the state level, and is included within funding priorities for the Ohio Department of Mental Health.Off Site Icon 

DBT skills training group teaches specific skills that help clients increase productive responses to distress which, in turn, provide the groundwork to “build a life worth living.”

Treatment is coordinated with each participant’s individual therapist.

The six-month group teaches four specific sets of skills that participants practice both within and outside of group sessions.

DBT Group Skills

Mindfulness Skills assist clients with focusing on the present moment, which reduces the sense of being emotionally overwhelmed that tends to accompany a focus on either past or future events. Mindfulness can help participants more clearly identify what needs to be addressed right now. This present focus also allows clients to experience positive events and emotions as they occur, rather than allowing these to be overshadowed by painful memories or worries.

Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills provide clients with specific tools to improve both the quality of their relationships and the likelihood of getting their needs met, while maintaining self-respect. Participants learn skills to use in a variety of interpersonal situations and how to choose when each will best apply. Increased effectiveness helps decrease conflict within relationships. Application of these skills can improve satisfaction with personal relationships, as well as enhance job performance.

Distress Tolerance Skills helps clients live through difficult and painful emotions that cannot be changed. Participants learn to cope with these emotions without reacting in a way that causes additional problems.  Improved ability to tolerate distress can reduce suicidal urges, as well as other self-destructive or impulsive behaviors.

Emotion Regulation Skills provide clients with skills to better manage their emotions so they do not become overwhelmed by them. Participants learn how to increase positive emotions in their daily lives and reduce the intensity of negative emotions. Increased Emotion Regulation Skills help clients better choose appropriate responses to situations, even when feeling strong emotions.

DBT Skills Training Group

Referrals are currently being accepted for a DBT Skills Training Group. The DBT Skills Training Group is offered Tuesdays from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., and consists of three 8-week modules. Each module consists of two weeks of Mindfulness training, followed by six weeks of training in another skill set. Continued Mindfulness practice is interwoven into each skill module. The full Skills Group Schedule is as follows:

 Weeks  Skill Module 
 1-2    Mindfulness
 3-8   Distress Tolerance
 9-10   Mindfulness
 11-16  Interpersonal Effectiveness
 17-18   Mindfulness
 19-24  Emotion Regulation


Potential group members are asked to complete an orientation session and individual assessment prior to enrolling in group. All group members are expected to continue working with their individual therapist while enrolled in the DBT Skills Group.

For more information regarding the DBT Skills Training Group, contact the Lifewell Program at (937) 734-4318. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What symptoms does a DBT skills group treat? 

DBT Skills Training group helps participants to manage impulsive behaviors, out of control emotions, suicidal urges, anger problems, chaotic relationships, and a sense of emptiness.

How can I know if DBT skills group will be the right treatment for me?
  
If you have ever been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, DBT skills group is definitely for you.  Also, if you struggle with chronic depression and/or anxiety, DBT skills group can be a very helpful addition to your overall treatment. 

If you have questions about whether this group will meet your needs, please discuss it with your current mental health provider and/or call for further information.

What are the requirements to attend the DBT skills group?

All DBT skills group participants need to be:

  • Actively involved in individual therapy with a mental health provider who is supportive of your attendance in the group
  • Willing to commit to attending the entire sequence of groups, in order to obtain the full benefit
  • Willing to complete homework practice assignments that are a component of the group

How do I get started?

If a DBT Skills Group sounds like it may be helpful for you, discuss it with your current mental health provider or therapist. Your therapist is welcome to contact Lifewell staff with any questions.

Once you and your therapist have agreed that a DBT Skills Group is right for you, contact Lifewell for to schedule the orientation session.

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