DBT Skills Group
Dialectical Behavior Therapy Group
The Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders at Boston University offers a Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills group for individuals experiencing problems with emotion dysregulation. The DBT group focuses on learning coping skills and is modeled after Marsha Linehan’s successful intervention. This group should not be considered an alternative to individual therapy, as all group members are required to attend individual psychotherapy at least 2x/month (a therapist outside of CARD is okay) during their participation in DBT Skills Group.
DBT Skills Group is divided into four topics, called modules: Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation and Distress Tolerance. Each module focuses on learning new skills, as well as building on the skills learned in previous modules. Modules are aimed at improving coping with emotionally challenging situations. Group sessions last 1.5 hours and include time spent reviewing members’ homework, providing feedback, and learning new skills.
The DBT Skills Group will be held on Tuesday evenings at 5:30-7:00 PM. The groups typically contain 6-8 members, with two doctoral student clinicians serving as co-leaders. The group leaders are supervised by Dr. Marie Parsons. New members join at the beginning of each module. On average, it takes it takes about six months to complete all four modules, and research shows it can be most helpful to go through all skills at least twice. For this reason, we require a 6-month commitment to DBT group, and we strongly encourage group membership for another 6 months, totaling one year of DBT skills group participation.
What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?
The purpose of DBT is to learn skills for coping effectively with strong emotions in stressful situations, such as relationship problems, intense and/or unpredictable emotions, impulsive behaviors, and self-harm. A major component of DBT is practicing skills between sessions in order to apply them to real situations in your life.
There are four DBT topics (called modules) covered:
- Mindfulness – Learning how to be present, in the moment, and attuned to the thoughts and feelings you are experiencing.
- Distress Tolerance – Learning how to cope with emotions when they become overwhelming.
- Emotion Regulation – Learning how to respond differently to your emotions.
- Interpersonal Effectiveness – Learning how to meet your objectives in relationships without compromising your or others’ self-respect.