Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

Our Group Therapy seeks to come Alongside You.

What is Dialectical Behaviour Therapy?

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is a form of therapy that builds on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and mindfulness as a foundation. Originally developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan, DBT has been successfully used to help people move forward from being stuck in unregulated mood and thoughts, into a life worth living. Through exploring four different modules clients learn to apply skills to their lives in healthy ways. The four modules of DBT are Mindfulness Skills, Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills, Emotion Regulation Skills, and Distress Tolerance Skills. Our program is open to anyone who would like to have a better handle on their emotional world and have a life worth living. Unlike some programs, you do not have to have a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder to participate. Research has shown DBT to be particularly effective for anyone struggling with emotional difficulties, regardless of official diagnosis.

DBT has been shown to be effective for many struggles people face, but in particular, is highly effective for people struggling with the following:

  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Chaotic relationships
  • Emotional Storms
  • Drug or Alcohol misuse
  • Anger management difficulties

We offer our program in both individual sessions and group format. Some programs require clients to participate in both. While we see the value in participating in both, we do not require clients to do both individual and group work. We will certainly provide both if desired, but we know that our clients have different needs, as well as different financial situations. We would rather clients get the help they need in the way that fits best with their life, and the current research on DBT effectiveness supports our approach.

Individual Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)

We believe strongly that individual DBT is an effective method of therapy. Clients can learn the skills of DBT while also addressing more of the issues that may require deeper processing that cannot be addressed in a group format. We are pleased to be able to offer individual DBT therapy in all three of our locations with both male and female therapists. While we don’t require it, individual DBT is very effective when combined with our DBT Skills groups.

Group Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)

Group therapy is an opportunity for clients to acquire the skills and knowledge they would typically learn in individual therapy while benefitting from being in a group of peers that understand where they’re coming from. Some people participate only in groups, and some combine group work with individual therapy. Group therapy can also be a good option for many who struggle with the costs of individual therapy, as group therapy can be provided at much more affordable rates as the costs are shared amongst the group.

Group DBT therapy offers weekly sessions, in which we come together in a safe and supportive environment to learn and discuss skills. It will ultimately encourage the use of the skills in our daily lives. We sometimes hear from clients that they are nervous or apprehensive about joining a group. We can understand that. What participants have often shared with us, once a group is underway, is that they look forward to being there.

Learning the skills is both challenging and rewarding. Learning them within a classroom setting provides feedback and validation that we are not alone, which is unique to being part of a group. We not only learn new skills but also discover how others have applied them effectively as tools for managing the stressors we all face. This can shift the ways in which we respond to challenges. We can become more mindful and intentional in our responses, ultimately helping us achieve what DBT founder, Dr. Marsha Linehan describes as, “a life worth living.”

Currently, we run groups for youth, adults, and youth and families out of our Ladner office. Please see below for information on each of our groups. If you’re interested in joining or want more information, please give the office a call.

Video Source: UCSF Adolescent and Young Adult Program.

How Effective is DBT?

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) as a treatment has been studied thoroughly, and what we now know is that DBT is effective in treating Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), Depression, Anxiety, Addiction, PTSD, and more. In a recent study on the effectiveness of DBT in community settings, the findings showed significant improvements in self-injurious behaviours, the number of stays in hospital, the number of symptoms of BPD, and overall presence of psychiatric symptoms. In fact, after one year of treatment, 77% of the patients studied no longer met criteria for BPD. What we can say is that in our experience, these findings hold true. We’ve seen a significant reduction in hospitalizations, suicide attempts, and psychiatric symptoms in our clients. At the same time, we’ve seen a dramatic improvement in mood regulation, relationship functioning, symptom management, and quality of life. In our experience, clients move toward having a life worth living again.

Having been a part of the DBT team at Alongside You for a number of years, I have repeatedly witnessed the effectiveness of DBT. I have seen the changes in clients’ lives when skills begin to morph from lessons on a worksheet into new ways of approaching life’s circumstances. Through skill building and validation, we learn we are not alone. We can have a life worth living.

KELLY WILLIAMS

MCP, RCC
DBT Counsellor
Registered Clinical Counsellor

Our DBT Group is a hybrid of skills and support.

Our DBT Group is a hybrid of skills and support. In our experience, this approach provides the best environment to grow for our clients. At the start of the group, we’ll check in with each member of the group briefly to see how the week has gone, and do a brief review of the skills used in the past week. This allows group members to feel supported, and also allows us to hear how skills are being used, and review any skills that need further reinforcing.

Gain a new skill set

The skills learned in our DBT Group are all focused on helping clients move forward, finding a balance between the two core skills needed: acceptance skills and change skills. The acceptance skills focus on interpersonal shifts, while the change skills focus on behavioural change. Clients in our DBT Group will learn how to stay present in the moment, how to manage their distress in daily life, how to have effective relationships with themselves and others, and how to manage their emotions.

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Groups

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) Group for Adults

This 24 weeks ongoing (DBT) Groups has been shown to be effective for many struggles people face, but in particular, is highly effective for people struggling with the following:

  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Chaotic relationships
  • Emotional storms
  • Drug or Alcohol misuse
  • Anger management difficulties

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) for Youth

A 24 weeks therapy program was designed for youth to manage difficulties.

Youth are at risk of using ineffective and sometimes dangerous coping skills to try to manage cognitive, emotional, and identity difficulties. Research has shown DBT to be particularly effective with anyone struggling with emotional difficulties regardless of their origin. Homework is reviewed at the beginning of each group and then new skills are introduced. Research shows that DBT skills are very successful in reducing life-threatening behaviours such as substance abuse and suicidal actions.

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) for Youth and Family

This 21 week therapy program was designed for youth and families to manage difficulties such as:

  • Emotion dysregulation
  • Interpersonal dysregulation
  • Behavioural dysregulation
  • Cognitive dysregulation
  • Family conflicts
  • Self dysregulation
  • Mental health struggles such as Anxiety, Depression, Borderline Personality, and suicidal tendencies

Youth Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Parent Group

A 6-week group program designed for parents of children and youth who manage difficulties such as:

  • Emotion dysregulation
  • Interpersonal dysregulation
  • Behavioural dysregulation
  • Cognitive dysregulation
  • Family conflicts
  • Self dysregulation
  • Mental health struggles such as Anxiety, Depression, Borderline Personality, and suicidal tendencies

TAKE THE FIRST STEP. REGISTER TODAY

If you are interested in working together, take the first step today by sending us an email or giving us a call at (604) 283-­7827!
We will get back to you as soon as we can.

The Four Modules of DBT

DBT skills are taught in four modules, each aimed at increasing a client’s ability to manage their lives in a healthy way and reduce suffering. The four modules of DBT are Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation, and Distress Tolerance. Briefly, here is a description of what each covers:

1. Mindfulness

The primary goal of this module is to teach mindfulness skills to build a mindfulness practice in order to reduce suffering and increase happiness in daily life. Mindfulness is the act of focusing the mind on the present moment, without judgement and without attachment to the moment. Mindfulness allows us to be present, nonjudgmentally, and able to see the world as it truly is. Through living mindfully, we can be present by observing, describing and participating in our reality in an effective manner.

2. Interpersonal Effectiveness

The primary goal of this module is to teach skills to help individuals build healthy relationships, maintain these relationships, and deal with conflict effectively when it arises. These skills focus on knowing what we want out of, and need in relationships, how to build healthy relationships and end destructive ones, and how to walk the middle path in relationships by balancing acceptance and change.

3. Emotion Regulation

The primary goal of this module is alleviated emotional suffering. The goal is not to get rid of, or deny emotions, but rather to be able to regulate and manage them in healthy ways. These skills allow clients to recognize and change emotions that they want to change, and build resilience in their emotional world. The goal is to understand emotions and what they do so that they can be regulated in healthy ways.

4. Distress Tolerance

The primary goal of this module is to increase our ability to tolerate and survive a crisis situation without making it worse. In this module, clients learn that pain and distress are a normal part of life and that require management skills and acceptance. The two main skills involve Crisis Survival Skills, and Reality Acceptance Skills – both aimed at again helping clients to find the overall balance between acceptance and change.

FAQ

What is DBT therapy?

DBT is an evidence-based therapy treatment developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan. Originally designed to help individuals with chronic suicidality, and individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder, it is now used to treat a wide range of conditions in mental health.

How is DBT different from CBT?

DBT is a modification of standard CBT skills and techniques that is focused on finding a balance between acceptance and change. DBT balances being present and accepting of the situation, with planning for and creating meaningful change.

What are dialectical behaviour therapy skills?

Dialectical behaviour therapy skills aim to increase a person’s ability to be effective in daily life, and have a life worth living. Skills are focused on acceptance and change, and are categorized into mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance skills.

What does it mean to think dialectically?

Thinking dialectically means to be able to hold two seemingly opposite things in synthesis. In DBT, this means the ability to both be accepting of our circumstances as well as pushing for change in our behaviour.

What does dialectical mean in DBT?

The main dialectic in DBT is between the strategies of acceptance and change. Both clients and therapists need to accept the clients as they are, while pushing for change in order to reach the client’s goals.

Can DBT be used for anxiety?

Yes, DBT can be used for anxiety. Mindfulness is a core skill that targets the anxious brain and trains it to focus on the present without judgement. Interpersonal effectiveness skills can help target anxiety in relationships, and emotion regulation and distress tolerance skills can help manage symptoms in the moment.

What are distress tolerance skills?

There are many distress tolerance skills to choose from. The core distress tolerance skills in DBT are Wise Mind Accepts, Radical Acceptance, Improving the Moment, Using the senses to self-soothe, Pros/Cons, Willingness, and Turning the Mind.

What are distress tolerance skills?

There are many distress tolerance skills to choose from. The core distress tolerance skills in DBT are Wise Mind Accepts, Radical Acceptance, Improving the Moment, Using the senses to self-soothe, Pros/Cons, Willingness, and Turning the Mind.

What is emotion regulation in DBT?

Emotion regulation is one of the four modules in DBT. This module teaches clients how to manage negative and overwhelming emotions with the ultimate goal of increasing positive experiences. The three main goals of emotion regulation are to understand our emotions, reduce emotional vulnerability, and reduce suffering.

What is an emotion regulation strategy?

An emotion regulation strategy helps a client to manage their negative or overwhelming emotions. One of the core strategies in the PLEASE skill which guides the client to treat Physical Illness, maintain Balanced Eating, Avoid Mood-Altering Drugs, maintain Balanced Sleep, and Get Exercise.

TAKE THE FIRST STEP. CONTACT US TODAY

If you are interested in working together, take the first step today by sending us an email or giving us a call!
We will get back to you as soon as we can.