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DBT- Skills Training

Emotion Regulation 8 weeks
8 Week Group on Emotion Regulation
Dates: Wednesdays May 2, 2018- June 20, 2018
Time: 5:00 PM- 6:15 PM
Cost: $400

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

 Overview of DBT

Dialectics underlies everything in DBT – this is the idea that there are no absolutes; we look for truths in all viewpoints.

 Dialectical Behavior Therapy or DBT was developed  by a clinical psychologist Marsha Linehan. She wanted to find effective treatments for individuals who have extreme difficulty regulating their emotional responses.  Since then, DBT has been modified to treat a range of problems including impulse control, addictions, eating disorders, and many other conditions.

How It Was Developed

Dr. Linehan was raised as a devout Catholic. A distinct message she heard while growing up was “suffering makes you stronger.”   She firmly believed in this concept and applied it to her own life.  However, she started to notice that for many of her patients, suffering did not make them stronger.  Suffering emotionally decimated them.   How could suffering on the one hand make some people stronger, while on the other hand, emotionally decimate certain people?

She began to look at a group of people who had suffered greatly – Holocaust survivors.  Among these individuals, she found that those  who had survived the Holocaust and were able to accept the reality of their situation were able to become “stronger.”  These survivors still recognized the horrible situations they and others had experienced, however, simply by accepting their reality these survivors were able to problem solve and eventually become emotionally “healthy.”  Meanwhile, other survivors (understandably) were stuck in the “how can it be???” cycle and therefore were not able to move on.  These people could not accept their reality.
Drawing from this research, the ultimate goal of DBT is radical acceptance.

Modules in DBT

In DBT, we learn “Change” skills (Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation) and “Acceptance” skills (Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance) Mindfulness is a core component of DBT and is taught at the beginning of each module.

Central Dialectic – Accept where you are in the moment while moving toward change.  This is a difficult concept for many people, but it is possible to accept where you are in this moment while still moving toward change, with the knowledge that everything is as it should be at a given point in time given everything that has come before it.


  1. Mindfulness: this is Core in the sense that it is learned first (whereas the other modules don’t come in a specific order).  Mindfulness underlies everything that comes in the other modules so it must be taught first.  Goals: Helps people to more objectively approach their current situation; learn to be in the present moment non-judgmentally
  2. Distress Tolerance: How to tolerate emotions/situations and not make things worse.  Many people tolerate their situation by making things worse.  When we can’t problem solve, DBT teaches people to distance themselves from the distressing feelings.
  3. Emotion Regulation: Evaluate what it is to experience a given emotion – what emotions tell us about ourselves and the situation; identify emotions; determine whether emotions are valid or not (i.e., based in truth and logic), and if so, whether the intensity is “valid.”  Depending on these answers, DBT teaches skills to manage various emotions.
  4. Interpersonal Effectiveness: Balancing 3 fundamental goals – a) Preserve sense of self; b) preserve relationship; c) get objectives met.  DBT skills will help with determining which of these is most important in any given situation, and learning skills to meet priorities