DBT stands for Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. Think of it as a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), with a heavier emphasis on managing emotions. It was created by a woman named Dr. Marsha Linehan, who herself was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). She did not find the treatments of the time helpful for her, so she got a doctorate degree and made her own approach (huge kuddos to her). Today, research supports DBT as a treatment for many other diagnoses and symptomatology than just BPD. It is a skills based model that basically believes that we all, as humans, need skills to manage the ups and downs of life. The four groups of skills are emotional regulation, distress tolerance, mindfulness, and interpersonal effectiveness.

In my experience as a counselor working with those who have survived various types of trauma, DBT is one way that can help people learn how to manage some of the symptoms and responses to trauma. It does not HEAL the trauma, but it can be one way to help cope. Sometimes this is helpful in addition to your individual counseling because can help you know ways to manage your response as you work through your experiences in order to heal. At the end of the day, DBT is one way to teach coping skills.

What does DBT look like with Jessica?

I offer two low cost DBT Skills Groups on Sundays. They are limited to 6 people and are run as closed groups meaning that once they begin, nobody else will be added in until the next module. Each module is 6 sessions and each session is 90 minutes. There are 6 total modules in my DBT program. Upon completion of all 6 modules, you will have learned 98% (estimate) of the DBT skills. I host 2 review modules per year- one in the summer and one between Thanksgiving and Christmas that all current members and any previous graduates of the program are invited to attend if desired. The review modules are 3 sessions (instead of 6) and are half the cost. These modules review skills learned in the other 6 modules and include some skills from the 2% of skills we didn’t get to in the other modules. Any adult in Texas is able to participate!

It is important to note that this is not a “full DBT program.” A full, or traditional, DBT program includes multiple skills groups each week, individual DBT therapy, DBT peer coaching, and 24/7 phone coaching. I do not offer all of this. My group is designed to be a way for people to learn DBT skills on a smaller scale and that fits into their current lives. You do not have to be in individual therapy with me, but often it is helpful for people to participate in both group and individual therapy at the same time. Other times, people may choose to just attend DBT skills group and that’s perfectly okay as well. I trust you to do whatever you feel you need most.

In individual counseling, I may bring in some DBT skills if you request it or if I think it may be helpful. This is not a requirement or something that I push on clients if it is not something you’re interested in. You should always feel free to voice to your counselor any time something is not working or not what you want. I want to help you get what you need and DBT is just one option that I can do based on my training competencies, but only if it is appropriate.

I hope that this gives you an idea of what to expect when working with me for DBT Skills Group!