DBT is a broad-based cognitive-behavioral treatment initially developed for patients who have intense emotions and are chronically suicidal. It is effective for individuals who:
- Have intense feelings of anger, depression, or anxiety.
- Display self-harming behavior, including eating and substance use disorders.
- Want to regulate their emotions.
- And improve relationships.
- Want to be able to tolerate distress.
- Have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder or other disorders presenting with emotional dysregulation and problematic cognitive behavioral patterns.
- DBT skills are of immense value; the skills work so well – they are like superpowers! DBT skills are fundamental life skills that should be taught to everyone.
DBT includes four components, namely
For each Module, there are skills to be learned.
In the outpatient group setting, the group program is 48weeks long. This may sound like a long time, but remember we are talking about a disorder that typically lasts for years. A year investment is indeed worthwhile in the long term. In each session we will check in on the previous week (e.g. on the home practice). Then we will learn the new skills for the week.
We usually do a chain analysis in the individual outpatient setting (meaning the patient consults a psychologist or psychiatrist in the office). This is an exercise where we look at a problematic situation and pinpoint exactly where things went ‘wrong.’ We then look at specific skills that can help with that situation in the future.
Let us cover a couple of fundamental DBT principles:
What does “Dialectical” mean?
“Di” means two- the world can be viewed from two angles. Firstly, from the fundamental nature of reality, and secondly from the view of relationships and dialogue. This (what is ‘real’) is a profoundly philosophical discussion but let us say that there are always two sides to every story. DBT focus on the behavior of the patient, and skills are taught to help patients quickly develop more adaptive behaviors. In other words, behaving less “crazy” increases self-esteem for the patient, who often feels that others think they are manipulative. It also means that we should integrate opposites, and therefore move away from black and white thinking. There is a paradox in most situations, and the most fundamental paradox in psychotherapy is the need to change versus the need to accept oneself as you are. Eventually, we can learn to live with seemingly opposite points of view.
The idea of skills deficit
DBT is a skills training therapy. Not only can patients cope better when they can use these skills, but learning skills also validates the view that the problem all along was that they did not have enough skills to cope. They have not been lying and manipulating as others accused them of doing.
The DBT model of Emotions
Firstly, DBT teaches how to describe emotions. And then, we learn that emotions are brief, fleeting ‘habitual’ responses to stimuli. Emotions function not in isolation but in systems. How we respond emotionally will depend on the following components:
- Emotional vulnerability to clues
- Internal or external events that serve as cues
- How we interpret the cues
- How our ‘biology’ and psychological make-up causes us to response
- Verbal and non-verbal expressions and actions
- The aftereffects of the initial emotional reaction
So, emotions are incredibly complicated! But the good news is that changing one part of the system can change the whole system.
The standard DBT process consists of:
- Individual psychotherapy
- Phone coaching
- Consultation teams
- Skills training
Your psychiatrist/ psychologist will explain in detail what these components are and how to access them.
The four DBT skills by Module
Mindfulness: being present in the moment and see the early signs of unregulated emotions.
Distress Tolerance: being able to recognize impulsive urges that can be harmful and learning how to control them.
Emotional Regulation: coping with difficult emotions without making things worse.
Interpersonal Effectiveness: how to get what you want out of a relationship.
What you get
- The most comprehensive, best-researched program for regulating emotions and building effective relationships.
- Become part of our community, make new friends, where we accept each other as we are.
- Learn the skills that will help you live a life worth living.
- Weekly online classes with lots of information, practical tips, and opportunities to practice the skills that you have learned.
- An opportunity to practice the skills that work the best for you and measure your progress on an app.
How to enrol
- Complete the required documentation
- Come for an evaluation
- Slot into the program during a Mindfulness Module (every eight weeks)
- Be committed!
- You will be able to claim back from your medical aid (different medical aids will cover according to their regulations).
- Monthly payment option: R2000 per month x 12 months.
- Once off payment discount: R21600 before the first class.
- Two payments of R11250.
- Unique consideration/sponsorship is available.
more about our current
outpatient group programs
Online DBT Skills Classes
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Online MBCT Skills Classes
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Mood Disorder DBT