Dilectical Behavior Therapy Skills Group FAQ

What is DBT?

DBT stands for Dialectical Behavior Therapy – Dialectical means two opposing ideas can both be true at the same time, and when considered together, can create a new truth and a new way of viewing the situation (DBT Skills Manual for Adolescents (2015), p. 77).  DBT group for adolescents allows them to process together ways in which they can better regulate emotions and behaviors, specifically focusing on problem behaviors and distress while increasing skillful behaviors and improving relationships.

DBT consists of five modules or sections: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, and walking the middle path (parents and teens together)

How would my teen benefit from a skills training group versus individual therapy?

While participating in individual therapy is beneficial and crucial to teens coping with difficult issues, participating in a skills training group not only provides teens with the perspective of other groups members, but also provides teens with a space to learn and implement skills that can significantly improve their well-being.  Learning these skills in a group setting provides teens with opportunities to see how skills work and situations in which skills may work effectively, as well as provide support, encouragement, and feedback to one another.  

Should my teen continue individual therapy during group therapy?

Individual therapy coupled with skills training group therapy will help teens and their parents to see the positive change and benefits of treatment more quickly than doing just one type of therapy alone.  For this reason, we require that teens continue to/begin seeing an individual therapist consistently (i.e., weekly) while in the skills training group.  The purpose of this is for teens to have opportunities to process specific difficulties they are experiencing and have a space to share their individual concerns in individual therapy, and then are able to process skills training and implementation/practice of skills in group therapy, since individual issues are often not fully addressed in a group setting for each group member.

What type of commitment is required for skills training group therapy?

We require that teens who enroll for group therapy arrive on time for the group and stay for the duration of the group. Teens are permitted to miss one group meeting each module, only for absolutely necessary reasons.  Because modules are condensed, a significant amount of material is covered during each group meeting.  Therefore, it is critical that teens participate in each group meeting, and are expected to review and complete all work from any missed group meeting.

As mentioned, it is required that teens are seeing an individual therapist during their participation in DBT Skills Training group in order to have the opportunity and necessary time to process their own emotions and difficulties in a private space, as well as to experience the benefits of DBT more fully.

We highly encourage teens who enroll in the first module of the DBT skills training group to participate in all modules of the group, as the modules are very interconnected and they build upon each other.  Even for those who have participated in DBT in individual therapy and do not want to repeat modules, it can be very helpful and a different, more in-depth experience to complete the module in a group setting.  Therefore, it is encouraged for teens who have previous DBT experience to participate in all modules as well.

When does the DBT skills training group take place?

DBT skills training group therapy takes place every Tuesday from 6pm to 7:30pm via Google Meet beginning May 12.  We will provide the link for the meeting via email prior to the meeting.  We will also provide a schedule for each module to group members and their parents.  If there is a holiday on a given Tuesday, we will skip that week and plan to meet the following week.  If there is a specific group meeting that your teen will be unable to attend, please notify a group leader as soon as possible.

What is the cost of the DBT skills training group?

Like other services you have received from our practice, we are paneled with Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) and can bill your insurance for group therapy.  According to BCBS, co-pays are being waived through June 30 as part of COVID-19 relief, and this will include group therapy*** (Group leaders will double check this before distributing to parents).  If you are not using insurance, group therapy will be $30 per meeting.  If your teen does not attend a group meeting, you are still responsible for the fees associated with that meeting.

What are my teen’s responsibilities related to the group?

Your teen is responsible for attending the group meeting every week for the full duration of the group meeting.  Your teen will have access to necessary materials prior to the group meeting, and is expected to have those materials on hand during the group meeting.  Your teen is expected to complete practice exercises and diary cards in between sessions in order to practice skills and build awareness of skill use.  Finally, your teen is expected to behave appropriately, respectfully, and kindly to other group members and group leaders, recognizing that what is shared in the group should remain confidential outside of the group, and that skills training group is a time to process use and implementation of skills, rather than individual difficulties.

When do I have to notify group leaders that my teen would like to enroll in the group?

The deadline for skills training group enrollment is Friday, May 9th.  Please email or call a group leader, and sign/submit the parent contract by that date.

What if I am unsure whether or not DBT would be a good fit for my teen?

Group leaders are offering 15 minute consultations with parents to provide parents with information about the group, and to determine if their teen would be a good fit for the group.  Please contact a group leader to schedule a consultation.

What are my responsibilities as a parent for the DBT skills training group?

Parents are expected to attend the first group meeting, in order to review guidelines, group policy, teen contracts, and the expectations of the group.  From that point, teens will work fairly independently with each other and group leaders for most modules.  However, the last module (Walking the Middle Path) is one in which teens and parents will participate together for every group meeting within that module.  Similar to individual therapy, there may be times where it will benefit parents to touch base with group leaders about their teen’s progress and participation.

What materials will be required for the group?

Access to a smartphone or computer is necessary to participate in group video meetings.  Teens will benefit from being able to print handouts and diary cards provided to them by group leaders.  It may be helpful for teens to also have a DBT folder for their handouts and diary cards, as well as a notepad for taking notes during group, or for participating in various activities with the group.