DBT Skills Training


Dialectical Behavior Therapy, or DBT Skills Training, is a type of intervention designed to help those suffering from symptoms of various mood  disorders and emotional dysregulation. DBT Skills have been shown repeatedly to help individuals with various mood and personality disorders rooted in emotion regulation deficits. The goals of DBT Skills Training are to promote skills of mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness.

DBT involves the following:

  1.  learning core skills of being aware of your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and urges,

  2.  learning how to cope and survive during a crisis as well as learning how to tolerate pain and emotions when it is difficult to change a situation,

  3. learning to manage negative and overwhelming emotions while increasing positive experiences, and

  4. learning to attend to relationships, balance priorities, and demands, balancing wants and building a sense of mastery and self-respect.

The STEADY Lab is interested in learning the ways in which interventions, such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Skills Training, effectively treat emotion regulation. Therefore, DBT Skills Training is one of the core components of our STEADY Study. Eligible study participants will be randomly assigned to receive DBT Skills Training. This means that some eligible mothers participating in the study will be assigned to receive DBT Skills training, while some will not receive DBT Skills Training. This process is random, like the flip of a coin.


Q: If I am assigned to receive DBT Skills Training, what will be involved?
A: Standard DBT Skills Training intervention consists of 1 year of weekly, 2.5 hour group sessions.
Q: Who leads the DBT Skills Therapy group sessions?
A: A therapist and a master's level clinician will lead the DBT Skills Group.
Q: I already receive treatment/family services outside of this research study. If I am eligible for the study can I still continue my usual treatments/family services?
A: Yes! All eligible participants may continue with their usual treatments/family services if they participate in the study. This includes both mothers who are randomized to receive DBT Skills Training and mothers who are not randomized to receive DBT Skills Training.
Q: Will every participant receive DBT Skills Training?
A: No. Half of mothers will be randomly assigned to receive DBT Skills training (and can continue with their regular treatment, if applicable). The other half of mothers will not receive DBT Skills training in our clinic and will continue with any applicable services that are already being provided to them.
Q: What happens if I am assigned to receive DBT Skills Training and do not attend my weekly group sessions?
A: If you are randomized to receive DBT Skills Training, regular attendance to the DBT skills group is required and you will be expected to attend every session.  The group leader or co-leader may also check in with you periodically in an individual meeting or over the phone to check-in about individual services you may be receiving. Participants that are entered into the randomized DBT Skills group will be withdrawn from the intervention if they miss 4 consecutive appointments.
Q: Does my child also receive/attend DBT Skills Therapy if I am randomized to receive DBT?
A: No. Only eligible mothers receive/attend DBT Skills Therapy.
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