Multi-family DBT Skills Groups
The multi-family skills groups consist of teens and at least one parent/caregiver per teen, with up to six families per group. They are led by two clinicians, who rotate leading/co-leading each module. Groups are two hours long. The first half is devoted to mindfulness practice and homework review of skills taught the previous week, and the second half is focused on teaching new skills. There is a break in the middle of group, and snacks and drinks are provided. DBT skills groups are more like classes than therapy groups, as the primary goal is for clients to learn skills. Groups do not allow for discussion or even mention of topics that might be upsetting for other group members e.g., self-harm, suicidality, substance use, violence, trauma, and eating disordered behaviors. Instead, clients are encouraged to wait until their next individual therapy session, get coaching from the co-leader, or reach out for phone coaching from their individual therapists.
DBT Individual Therapy
Individual DBT therapy sessions are collaborative sessions between clients and therapists. Parents/caregivers are included on an as-needed basis. Therapists are careful to balance both validation of their clients' experiences with identification of solutions to their problems. Therapists will also help clients practice and troubleshoot skills in session to help them be successful. Discussion is sessions are prioritized according to a hierarchy of behaviors:
1. Life-threatening behaviors
2. Therapy-interfering behaviors
3. Quality-of-life interfering behaviors
This structure helps to organize both therapists and clients in addressing and managing the (often) many stressors and behaviors occurring in clients' lives in the most effective and efficient manner.
Everybody needs help and encouragement when learning new behaviors to replace old habits. In order to learn how to use skills in real-life situations outside of therapy, the Trinitas DBT programs offer phone coaching as an essential part of treatment. Here are some examples of when coaching can be helpful:
DBT is a treatment that requires hard work, time, and energy. The most successful clients and families make sure to do the following: