WHAT TO EXPECT
Our goal is to help you build a life worth living. We want to help you formulate and reach your own personal goals by understanding your reactions to distress and then incorporating Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills. Skills training group is a formal part of DBT for many of our clients. Skills group is designed to teach new ways of responding and is considered a very important component of our treatment program.
Each client will have a treatment plan tailored specifically to their needs, for example,
some of our clients only need training in one module, or have already learned many of the skills in another setting. Most research suggests that individuals with multiple, chronic problems related to emotion dysregulation benefit from a full year of DBT. Once again, there is wide variability in this. You and your therapist will establish an estimated length of treatment in your first few sessions. You may successfully complete therapy before that date, or you may choose to stay beyond that date to work on additional targets, but typically we aim for one year.
In order to give our clinicians the information they need and save time during your intake appointment, you will receive emails requesting that you complete paperwork. The first email contains a link to your secure client portal. Through this account you complete your new client paperwork. This paperwork includes a personal history and questionnaire, allowing your clinician to collect helpful background information before meeting. These documents will also contain forms we are required to collect by law. Please read through these documents carefully and follow the instructions to sign them.
DIALECTICAL BEHAVIOR THERAPY
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) has four primary modes of treatment delivery. This is different than many other psychotherapies that consist of just one mode or aspect of treatment, such as individual therapy. At Charleston DBT associates we strive to offer treatment adherent to the model developed and extensively researched by Marsha Linehan, PhD at the University of Washington. This includes weekly individual therapy sessions, weekly skills group, weekly consultation team and between session phone coaching.
DBT has been extensively researched and is recognized as the most effective treatment for people with BPD, as well as those with self-injury or suicidal behaviors. In addition, research has shown that DBT is effective for a wide range of other disorders associated with difficulties in emotion regulation, including substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder.
DBT individual therapy is focused on enhancing client motivation and helping clients to apply DBT skills to specific challenges and events in their lives. In the standard DBT model, individual therapy takes place once a week for as long as the client is in therapy, and runs concurrently with DBT skills training.
Our groups are psycho-educational in format, operating more like a class than a typical therapy group. Our groups are approximately 24 weeks long and include four skills modules.
DBT uses phone coaching, an in-vivo technique, to provide in-the-moment support. The goal is to coach clients on how to use their DBT skills to effectively cope with difficult situations that arise in everyday life. Clients can call their individual therapist between sessions to receive coaching at the times when they need help the most.
The DBT consultation team is essential to help therapists monitor their fidelity to the treatment, develop and increase their skills, and sustain their motivation to work with high-risk, difficult-to-treat clients. Central to the success of every Dialectical Behavior Therapy program is a strong consultation team. It is in this weekly meeting that therapists shape their approach to clients to gain the best possible outcomes, hone technical precision, refine the balance of acceptance and change, and find the support needed to remain effective in working with clients.