Group Skills Classes
At East West DBT, skills classes are designed to support skill learning and integration alongside individual therapy. We offer three DBT classes a week, including one advanced class.
Our classes are for adults only, ages 18+
Our current Group Skills Classes meet once per week at the following times:
Our DBT Groups are for adults 18+. If you are interested in a DBT group, you must first be in individual therapy.
What are skills classes like?
All classes at East West DBT adhere to the manual developed by DBT founder Marsha Linehan. Our classes are active and engaging, and we are passionate about teaching and helping others learn and use these life-changing skills.
While participants are often friendly and supportive with each other, all groups have a ‘classroom’ atmosphere and are not designed to be group therapy or a process group.
Powerful Learning Space
DBT groups can be a very efficient way to learn skills, as they offer targeted learning in an 8-9 week module, and support accountability for participants to complete skills homework throughout the week.
Because skills groups have multiple participants (4-9 students at a time), they also offer the opportunity to learn from questions and responses regarding skills from others in the class, many of whom are working with similar challenges.
The Four Pillars of DBT
All modules are either 8 or 9 weeks long, and it is recommended that participants take all three modules at least once. (It is often recommended to take them twice, for more comprehensive learning and integration of skills.)
Learning how to live in the present on purpose, non-judgmentally, and to build a ‘mindfulness muscle’ to support more moment to moment awareness. Mindfulness is woven into all three of the other DBT class modules.
The mindfulness practice helps us to experience reality, as it is in the present moment, in an accepting and calm way. Rather than operating from a place of behavioral auto-pilot, mindfulness skills teach us to understand the tendencies of our mind, and what types of thoughts we experience in challenging situations.
Often times, our emotions are heightened by the types of thoughts we have, and they have a way of keeping us dwelling in the past or worrying about an outcome in the future. In the mindfulness practice, we focus on the present and what behavior is effective for us to put us on a path of our goals and values.
Learning ways to survive crisis emotions and urges without ‘making things worse’ with habitual problem behaviors. This module also includes skills that move us towards accepting reality to reduce suffering.
Sometimes we find ourselves in challenging situations we did not ask for, and the Distress Tolerance skills help us withstand intense negative emotions without engaging in ineffective behaviors. When a crisis hits, clients will learn to utilize the Crisis Survival skills to soothe, distract, or change up our body chemistry quickly in order to prevent overwhelm. These help us behave in-line with our intentions and values.
Other times, we find ourselves in a longer-term situation in which we can’t problem solve or control our environment for some time. In these cases, clients will learn the Radical Acceptance practice to help decrease suffering and maintain our energy so that when we can change our environment, we have the wherewithal to do it effectively.
Working to gain more awareness and tolerance of emotions, as well as learning specific skills that support us to change or reduce painful emotions. Practicing building positive emotions for a life more worth living.
These sets of skills help us to regulate painful emotions, generate positive ones, decrease vulnerabilities to intense emotions, and reduce suffering.
Often, the urges of an intense emotion have the tendency to control our behavior in the moment and steer us away from our long-term goals and values. Emotion Regulation skills help us to gain more awareness of the emotions we’re experiencing and allow us to take back sovereignty over these emotions.
Learning to ask for what we want or say no, strengthening and balancing relationships with others, and maintaining our own self respect in relationships.
The Interpersonal Effectiveness skills are designed to helps us increase the probability of getting our needs met with other people, in a healthy way, that services to deepen important relationships and increase our self-respect.
Often times, being interpersonally effective involves using skills to be assertive and find a middle ground between passivity and aggressiveness. In addition to asserting needs, clients also learn to practice setting boundaries, which serve to reduce burnout and resentment.