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Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) & DBT Group Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a specialized cognitive-behavioral therapy that combines individual therapy with skills group training sessions to help people manage emotions and navigate life’s difficulties.

Psychological disorders in which people suffer from high levels of emotional vulnerability, leading to them seeking DBT treatment include:

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DBT treatment includes clear, easy-to-remember DBT skills that you’ll learn in weekly skills group therapy sessions. Our therapists will also relate to you in an accepting, validating manner and help you to maintain motivation to move forward.

Our Approaches

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) was developed on Long Island, New York in the 1980s by Dr. Marsha Linehan. Dr Linehan was doing graduate work at Stony Brook, when she realized that a strictly behavioral approach to therapy did not work with certain clients who feared and struggled with change. But when she switched to a purely acceptance-based approach, she realized that this did not work either because clients were unhappy and needed to take steps towards improving their lives.

DBT skills in Family Therapy

With an easy and consistent set of skills, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is an ideal way to make regular progress in personal and group therapy. Our Long Island and Manhattan family therapists are experts at applying these same skills to whole-family learning so that everyone can access the growth and change needed to move forward with acceptance.

Building Healthier relationships with DBT skills in Family therapy

Using Dialectical Behavior Therapy for families is different from individual therapy because it focuses on applying the techniques and ideas unique to DBT and making them a family practice. These same skills have a different practical approach and use when applied to groups who they connect.

Communication is an important part of productive relationships. At Suffolk DBT, we focus on finding family-forward ways to improve communication, reduce anxiety and create a more fulfilling life balance for every member of the family through five pillars of positive growth.

There are different components of DBT Skills including: individual therapy sessions, skills group training sessions and between-session phone coaching.

Weekly Individual DBT Sessions

In Individual DBT treatment, you will work toward establishing a committed, collaborative working relationship with your mental health specialist/therapist. You will have opportunities to discuss things such as struggles you have with your mood, problematic behaviors and thinking patterns, interpersonal issues, the impact of traumatic events from your past and your goals for the future.

You will be encouraged to fill out a weekly “Diary Card,” which is an easy-to-use self-monitoring chart on which you will take note of the urges, behaviors, emotions, and skills that are part of your life each day. These are discussed in sessions with your therapist so you can gain a better understanding of them, identify your patterns, and develop more effective ways of increasing skillful behaviors and decreasing unskillful ones. Your individual therapist will also work with you to anticipate and deal with times when you may struggle in motivating yourself to make important changes in your life.

Weekly DBT Skills Training

Skills groups usually start out with a mindfulness practice, followed by a review of the skills homework from the previous week, and discussion of a new skill that can be tried out over the course of the following week. Members also get the benefit of having a positive structured peer experience in which they can feel less alone with their problems, get encouragement and support, and receive feedback from others about how to apply skills to their own life stressors.

Members are encouraged to learn and master the five DBT skills modules outlined below: core mindfulness skills, distress tolerance skills, emotion regulation skills, interpersonal effectiveness skills, and middle path skills.

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Distress Tolerance

High-stress situations are where our therapy tools are often most required and least accessible. In family Dialectical Behavior Therapy, you’ll be given the tools to improve your personal and collective response to stress by focusing on coping in crisis situations without making the situation worse. What you say and do affects your family members and the same holds true for what they say and do.
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Personal effectiveness

Better relationships with others apply within your family groups as well. When you improve your ability to ask for what you want and cultivate a shared respect for communicating that, everyone benefits from a healthier expression of need, preference and personal awareness. Good interpersonal relationships are effective, intentional and dynamic.
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Emotional Regulation

Understanding your emotions is not a linear process. Our therapists will support you in identifying the steps that create your emotional awareness to give you better control over how they happen in your daily life. Imagine a family conversation where each family member can identify, validate and express their own emotions so you can respond in kind!

DBT Consultation Team

All of our Suffolk DBT mental health clinicians meet together on a weekly basis to discuss our clients in a treatment team meeting format. We are able to receive feedback from each other that allows us to provide you with the best DBT treatment possible. Our goal is to maintain adherence to DBT principles, DBT skills and to offer caring, compassionate, competent and effective therapy to all of our clients.

Most clients who enter DBT treatment are asked to make a one-year commitment to attend both individual therapy and skills group training. Adolescent clients are asked to commit for 6 months of DBT treatment. In the one year of treatment for adults or 6 months for adolescents, hard work from both the client and the therapist is likely to result in significant improvement in clients overall functioning. We are here to support you online or at our Long Island or Manhattan cognitive behavioral therapy locations.