Dialectic Behavioral Therapy

DBT may be right for you, or someone you love, if this scenario sounds familiar:

You are tired of hurting yourself.  You feel ashamed that you can’t keep from lashing out at yourself or others, your head is spinning from the ups and downs of your relationships, you feel empty inside and wonder if you are going crazy.

You’ve tried to control yourself but still fly into a rage when someone pushes your buttons.  You’ve snapped at people so much that you may soon lose your job.  You are sick and tired of feeling like you’re a freak because you get more upset than other people do.

If this sounds like you, DBT is probably a good fit for you.  Keep reading to learn more about DBT and how it works.


DBT is designed for Borderline Personality Disorder, depression, anxiety, OCD and other conditions where managing emotions is challenging


Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a condition that generates significant emotional instability. This can lead to a variety of other stressful mental and behavioral problems. With BPD, you may have a severely distorted self-image and feel worthless and fundamentally flawed. Anger, impulsiveness and frequent mood swings may push others away, even though you may desire to have loving and lasting relationships.

If you have BPD, don't get discouraged! Many people with this disorder get better with treatment, and can live satisfying lives.

With a combination of individual therapy where we work to identify patterns of self harm and heal old wounds - and group therapy where skills are learned, you will receive a comprehensive system of support.


DBT Skills Group

You may be wondering why a group is important to your healing.  For some the idea of participating in a group may feel uncomfortable and if so, you are not alone.  You may have experienced other groups in which members told in depth stories about difficult experiences.  Or you may have seen this kind of group therapy in the media.  DBT Skills Group is more of an education experience.  For people who have more sensative emotional systems, a different set of coping tools is neccessary.  If you were a carpenter and were trying to bang a screw into a board with a hammer, you might make a mess and feel incompetent.  If, however, you have a screwdriver in your hand, the job becomes a breeze!  I'm not saying the tools you will learn in skills group will make your life a breeze.  The skills will be new ways to solve problems for yourself that you may not have learned before.  This group is an opportunity to get advanced work in the skills of life which will be with you forever.

How Skills Group Works

Group is ongoing.  It meets once each week for 90 minutes.  Each group session is structured in the exact same way.  We begin with 10 minutes of mindfulness practice.  Homework is presented from the week before.  The new skills are offered and the application of them is discussed so that each person feels confident about putting that skill to work in the coming week.  Homework based on the new skill is given.  It takes about six months to complete all the skills offered in the program.  Some people feel that one round of group is enough to launch them into a more effective way of living, others stick around for an additional six months to really make sure they get the skills down pat.  Group membership is kept small - usually about 6 people at a time.

If you are ready to explore the option of joining skills group, call me.  We will chat on the phone for 10-15 minutes and if you are a candidate for group we will likely schedule to meet in person. In order to join skills group you need to be connected with a therapist who is familiar with the DBT skills.  That therapist does not have to be me.  I have many people in group who are currently seeing other therapists.  I may want to connect with your current therapist to talk about the kind of support you will need from them while you are a member of the skills group.

If you are interested in exploring skills group further, call me 540-492-0773.  I would love to hear from you!


The components of your DBT therapy will include:

Mindfulness – through daily practice of present moment awareness, you will learn to identify thoughts and feelings, to untangle from them and to develop a non-judgmental perspective toward self and others.

Crisis management – you will learn to develop a toolbox of skills for helping you to calm down before reacting when emotional crisis occurs. You will practice self care and manage your stress in health affirming ways.

Emotion regulation – building emotional intelligence is critical to managing the overwhelm that comes with BPD. You will learn to identify your emotional states, understand the relationship between emotions, thoughts and actions and begin to employ more skillful ways of working with your emotional self.

Assertiveness training – learning to set appropriate boundaries is critical for the person with BPD. In this module you will learn how to respect yourself and others, and communicate your needs clearly and effectively.

I can help if you are ready to calm down, stop crisis before they start, and create healthy relationships beginning with yourself. Call me today for a free consult.  Call  +1 (540) 492-0773 and ask for Gail.