Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Group in West Hartford, CT
At The Harmony Center for Change, we partner with people who are working toward change and self-improvement. In order to offer the best support, we utilize a range of counseling techniques or modalities, including dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). A unique form of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), DBT was originally developed as treatment for borderline personality disorder, but today, we use DBT to impact the lives of people struggling with complex trauma, mood disorders (like anxiety and depression), to help individuals change harmful behaviors, and it’s still an effective treatment for borderline personality disorder.
What is DBT?
DBT is helpful for anyone who wants to learn and use new life skills effectively. It can help you handle stressful situations, gain control over your emotions, live in the moment, and have healthy relationships. This type of treatment will help you learn how to communicate and assert yourself when you need to. It will also help you cope with challenges and day to day stressors. These skills can help anyone who struggles with anxiety, depression, trauma, and personality disorders.
The DBT Modules
DBT has four modules that are explored in order to help individuals achieve their goals. By developing skills within each of these four modules, people often experience success in making positive changes. While it’s easy to consider each of these modules individually, they should actually all work together to help individuals make complex changes to the ways they approach the outside world and handle internal turmoil.
- Mindfulness – is the core of DBT, and it teaches individuals how to increase awareness and live in the present moment without judgement.
- Distress Tolerance – this module of DBT explores how to tolerate painful experiences and stressors outside of your control while avoiding panic attacks and not making a crisis more difficult or less safe.
- Emotion Regulation – similar to distress tolerance but focused inward, emotional regulation is all about how to control overwhelming intense emotions, so individuals have command and peace in even the most difficult situations.
- Interpersonal Effectiveness – the final module of DBT explores how to effectively communicate with others and set appropriate and healthy boundaries.
How Does DBT Work?
Part of DBT is done independently through “homework” to help you learn about the four modules of the counseling technique and develop skills associated with each of them. Then, there’s the counseling part of the process. DBT is a technique offered in individual therapy, but it works best in a group because this provides exposure to a number of different perspectives and experiences throughout individual development. Many people think of groups like AA when they hear that DBT is performed in a group. However, rather than simply sharing stories or processing feelings, you will be learning more about the four DBT modules. Some people like to think of DBT group as a class with group projects. While each session will look a little different, most DBT groups follow the same basic outline:
- Mindfulness technique – as mindfulness is the core of DBT, each session will begin by practicing a guided mindfulness technique.
- Homework review – this is the closest you’ll get to traditional group therapy. During this time, we discuss any progress you made with your homework and how to improve in the coming week if you didn’t complete your past week’s work. This is a judgement and stress-free process! It is about support and accountability not grades.
- New skill development – then, as a group, you’ll learn a skill within one of the four DBT modules.
- New homework – finally, you’ll receive this week’s homework, which is typically related to the new skill you learned. You’ll use DBT Diary Cards to keep track of your homework and progress between sessions.
What do I do Next?
To enroll in a DBT group, we ask that individuals complete an initial intake process, including filling out forms and scheduling individual therapy sessions. We would first start with an intake appointment and follow up with four commitment sessions prior to starting group. This pre-treatment stage is valuable and helps you understand the DBT model while setting targets and goals in your treatment. We encourage all new clients to see us for both individual and group therapy as we are doing our best to adhere to model. The first step can simultaneously be the easiest and the most difficult. You just have to give us a call, send an email, or use our simple online form to request additional information.