Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) Skills Groups are used as didactic adjuncts to individual DBT psychotherapy, and other psychological and psychiatric interventions.
A DBT Skills Group is a psycho-educational, skills-based approach, utilizing worksheets, reading, group discussion, homework, phone coaching, and lecture, with the stated goal of self-discovery and understanding emotional processes.
There are four components to DBT Skills:
Distress Tolerance/Crisis Management;
Emotional Regulation/Process Evaluation;
Mindfulness/Awareness and Insight;
Interpersonal Effectiveness/Understanding Relationship Dynamics.
Distress Tolerance/Crisis Management
Distress Tolerance identifies tools to improve coping with painful events by building resiliency, softening reactions, refocusing on the present, self, and what is possible. Key concepts include Radical Acceptance as a process, Self-Soothing vs. self-indulgence, and Turning the Mind. An action-plan is developed by you for your specific challenges and practice begins prior to the next crisis.
Emotional Regulation/Process Evaluation
Emotional Regulation helps identify and observe present moment feelings, understanding why they arose, internal and external causes, balancing emotions with checking-the-facts, and understanding how emotions affect thoughts and behavior, and how to modulate emotional responses. We learn about the anthropological-basis of emotions and their historic purposes that do not always fit into modern relationships and settings.
Mindfulness/Awareness and Insight
Mindfulness teaches practices to increase awareness, inner wisdom, reduce judgmentality and resistance, and increase understanding. The non-religious practices taught also increase observation of the environment, emotions, body, and thoughts, and allow an opening for the decrease of self-destructive behavior processes.
Understanding Relationship Dynamics
Interpersonal Effectiveness provides new tools to express your values, beliefs, wants and needs, understand relationship hierarchies vs. peer to peer relationships and ‘rules’ that apply, negotiate solutions, set limits, treating yourself and others with respect, and balancing immediate vs. long-term relationship goals.