Do Your Emotions Feel Out Of Control?
Do you often feel like you’re battling intense emotional waves? Do you struggle to manage situations that it seems like other people are able to navigate more easily? Do you wish that you could just be at peace, without always worrying when experiences like anxiety or sadness or shame will take over?
Maybe your struggles involve other people. You might have trouble balancing your needs with others’ in your relationships. Or maybe you find yourself either losing your temper or people pleasing in your interactions.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
If you feel like you’re missing the skills to live a peaceful, effective life, you’re not alone. And this is where DBT skills come in.
What Causes Emotional and Relationship Problems?
People struggle with emotion regulation and interpersonal effectiveness for a variety of reasons. Some of us are just born more emotional than others. You might be someone who reacts more emotionally to situations than others, who has more intense reactions, or who takes longer to come back to baseline once you’re having an emotion. Sometimes, the experience of chronic invalidation, either in childhood or beyond, can lead to difficulties with emotion regulation. Experiencing trauma certainly doesn’t help.
The ability to regulate your emotions and interact effectively with others are skills that must be learned. If you didn’t learn these skills while growing up, perhaps because they weren’t modeled for you as a child, you wouldn’t know them. But you can learn them now.
What is DBT?
DBT is a treatment that was developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan, originally to help those struggling with suicidality and borderline personality disorder. However, it soon became clear that the skills were helpful for a wide range of individuals. Research now shows that DBT skills training is effective for for those struggling with depression, anxiety, trauma/PTSD, ADHD, alcohol/substance misuse, disordered eating, or with any other difficulties managing emotions and relationships, DBT is an evidence-based treatment that can reduce distress, increase coping, and help you create a life worth living.
If you struggle with regulating your emotions or have difficulty managing your interpersonal interactions, DBT skills are the missing puzzle piece for navigating through your life more effectively. This highly effective treatment offers a wide range of skills that you can customize to meet your individual needs.
Gatewell’s DBT therapists are here to teach you the skills to manage your emotions and interactions more effectively. We can help you increase your ability to cope with distress, regulate your emotions, and enhance your interpersonal interactions. Our DBT skills groups provide you with a framework for more skilled and intentional living.
What to Expect in DBT Skills Group Meetings
In order to start in one of our DBT skills groups, you’ll first meet with a DBT therapist for a consultation. This is an opportunity to talk in depth about your concerns and what you’re looking for in treatment. We’ll be able to share information about DBT skills training and let you know if the group is a good fit for you and your needs.
Once you decide to join one of our groups, you’ll participate in 24 weeks of skills training sessions. We offer the full, evidence-based curriculum to ensure you’re learning all the skills you need. Our groups meet online and are open to adults in Florida, New York, California, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. The groups are offered on Mondays at 5pm EST or on Thursdays at 12:30pm EST.
Each group meeting is 90 minutes long and starts with a mindfulness exercise, followed by a review of your homework, and then the presentation of new skills. While DBT skills groups are therapeutic, they function more like a class, with less interaction than in a typical therapy group; the approach is more didactic. Still, you’ll be able to interact with other group members, and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to ask questions and clarify the skills you’re learning.
Our DBT Skills Training Curriculum
We follow the standard DBT skill training curriculum Our groups cover four modules, including:
- Core Mindfulness Skills: Mindfulness is at the heart of DBT. In this module, you’ll learn how to focus your attention and thinking. Mindfulness skills encourage you to observe, describe, and participate in life and to do so from a non-judgmental, focused, and effective stance.
- Emotion Regulation Skills: This module helps you gain increased awareness and understanding of your emotions. You’ll learn what you’re feeling (and why) and how to ride out strong emotional waves.
- Distress Tolerance Skills: These skills help you cope with crisis situations without making them worse. You’ll learn how to accept certain realities and how to weather life’s storms. If you struggle with knowing what to do when facing challenging experiences and when flooded with emotions, distress tolerance skills can help.
- Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills: Here, you’ll learn how to interact with others more effectively. This might involve asking for what you need, saying no to others’ requests, and generally asserting yourself and your boundaries. The interpersonal effectiveness module teaches listening and communication skills, as well as how to cope with difficult people and make relationship repairs.
Together, these modules can help you approach your emotions, your relationships, and yourself with more skill, confidence, and ease.
But You May Still Have Concerns About Starting One of Our DBT Skills Groups. . .
It feels like a lot to commit to 24 weeks.
It is a lot, but we don’t want to offer a treatment that is only partially effective. Attendance for the full six months is required in order to reap the benefits demonstrated from DBT skills groups in research and clinical settings.
Why is your program only 24 weeks when other programs ask folks to commit to a year?
While some programs require that group members cycle through the skills twice, we recommend this but don’t require it. We understand that there are limits on time and money that might make cycling through the program twice challenging for some. However, our group members are welcome to complete the modules twice, and many report that the second round is what crystallizes the skills for them. Another option for those who have completed skills training is our DBT graduate group. This is a monthly group for those who want to keep the skills alive in a more advanced and interactive setting.
Why are your groups online?
Like many realized during the pandemic, telehealth is an easy, accessible alternative to in-person therapy. Research shows that remote therapy is just as effective to that which is provided in person. We enjoy being able to offer our services to folks in various locations and those with other commitments. For many working professionals, parents, etc., it’s easier to attend online than to take extra time to commute to our office for group.
I’m not sure I feel comfortable sharing personal matters in a group.
What you share is up to you. You can share emotional content, but if that doesn’t feel right for you, you’re welcome to share less vulnerable material. For example, if we’re working on distress tolerance skills in the group, one member might share how they used the skills to cope with a panic attack while another might share how they used the skills to cope with traffic. These are equally valid examples and ways to practice the skills.
I’m not sure the group will be enough support for me.
We offer comprehensive DBT in our practice. This means that you can participate in individual therapy alongside skills training. We also offer phone coaching in between sessions, so that you’re able to get help with the skills outside of your scheduled sessions. We can work with you to develop a customized treatment plan to meet your needs.
This treatment is really expensive.
Investing in high-quality treatment isn’t cheap. Our primary group leader is intensively trained in DBT and our team has years of experience leading DBT groups at Gatewell and in other settings. Our fees are set in order to compensate multiple group leaders (you’ll have the benefit of a team of providers) and to account for the in-depth and ongoing training of our staff. While paying for DBT skills groups can be an initial investment, the benefits in life satisfaction can pay off for years to come.
DBT Skills Can Help You Create a Life Worth Living
Your emotions don’t have to control you any longer. Learn how to cope more effectively and manage difficult situations, emotions, and interactions. With the DBT skills, you can experience newfound freedom, growth, and peace. Contact Gatewell Therapy Center to get started in one of our groups.