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Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Training Group (DBT)


Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) combines cognitive-behavioral techniques with concepts from Eastern philosophy. It is designed to address skill deficits in affect regulation,impulse control, assertiveness, and distress tolerance. Clients learn cognitive behavioral and mindfulness skills to better identify and manage their emotions. They then practice applying these skills to better tolerate difficult life events and improve their ability to interact effectively with others.

The DBT Skills, developed by Marsha Linehan, PhD, are divided into four modules that teach clients how to regulate their emotions:

  • Core Mindfulness – how to stay present in the moment,
  • Distress Tolerance – how to survive painful emotions,
  • Emotion Regulation – how to identify emotions and reduce your vulnerability to them, and,
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness – how to ask for what you need, say “No,” and cope with interpersonal conflict.

Each module is taught weekly over a 7 week period and it takes 28 weeks to complete all four modules. Individual skills are taught and practiced in the group sessions. Homework is given each week. Individual therapy is usually required to supplement the group. In individual therapy, skills are practiced with the therapist/coach. Interpersonal issues that arise during group sessions and during your day-to-day life are processed using DBT skills.

Benefits of DBT

DBT may be for you if you:

  • find it challenging to manage strong emotions
  • would describe yourself as extremely sensitive
  • have difficulties with relationships, intimacy, or fear abandonment
  • experience frequent rapid mood changes
  • have mixed anxiety and depression
  • engage in self-destructive thoughts or actions

DBT has been shown in numerous clinical studies to:

  • enhance motivation and desire to live more fully in your life
  • improve emotion management
  • improve interpersonal relationships and communication
  • decrease self-destructive behaviors
  • enhance your ability to manage crises    

DBT has been shown to have great therapeutic value with more people with more diverse problems. Women, men, and adolescents with eating disorders, significant problems with mood regulation, substance abuse, and post-traumatic stress disorder have also received tremendous benefit from DBT Skills Training. Group therapy in conjunction with individual therapy has been proven to be the most effective treatment protocol. 

The Four Modules of DBT

Module 1: Mindfulness skills in DBT come from the eastern spiritual traditions. These skills help people focus on the present moment and attend to what is happening in the here and now in a calm way that is not packed with emotion. It helps people slow down and focus on doing what is needed to care for the self in the moment while preventing an emotional spiral into crisis mode.

Module 2: Distress Tolerance  In this module you learn the necessary skills to get through difficult times when emotions are running high. It helps you tend to the matters at hand even though you are feeling emotional. It helps people speak to themselves rationally so they are not overwhelmed by emotions. It helps and teaches people to soothe themselves in healthy ways when they are feeling upset.

Module 3: Emotional Regualtions  The skills in this module help people understand their emotions better. It teaches people to decrease the intensity of their felt emotions and helps people ride out their strong emotions without acting on them. It provides basic education about the function of feelings and how to not be swamped by them.

Module 4: Interpersonal Effectiveness This set of skills involves helping people understand what their needs are in their relationships,  and helps develop effective ways of dealing with others in order to get one’s needs met in a healthy way. This involves respecting the self and others, listening and communicating effectively, being able to say no, dealing with difficult people and repairing relationships.

If you have any questions or would like to register for an upcoming group, please call the facilitator(s)
Eva Fernandez, LMFT
Lynashley Gildar, Psy.D
at 646.881.4608 

NOTE: Each participant must have an intake interview with the group facilitators to register for any of the skills training group.