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DBT Groups in NYC

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Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) has been shown to be an effective treatment for a number of issues including anxiety, depression, addiction, impulsivity, and relationship problems. Although it was originally developed to help people who were struggling with suicide, this comprehensive treatment package can be useful for those who are experiencing emotional distress such as anxiety, depression, or anger, as well as those having difficulty overcoming procrastination, interpersonal isolation, relationship conflict, or effectiveness at work.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy DBT Skills Group Consist of Four Modules:

Meet Your DBT Group Therapist

Jennifer Musico, Psy.D.

Dr. Musico leads the Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Skills Group at New York Behavioral Health (NYBH). DBT Group members practice DBT tools to improve their ability to problem solve, cope with crises, manage interpersonal conflicts, and set and achieve goals in various areas of their lives.

DBT Theory and Background

Dr. Marsha Linehan, the creator of DBT, believed this group of chronically depressed patients struggling with suicidal ideation who were unresponsive to existing cognitive behavior therapies (CBT) were frequently emotionally dysregulated. By this she meant that they became intensely emotional and had great difficulty returning to baseline. She later proposed a biosocial theory which identifies a genetic vulnerability coupled with an invalidating family environment could lead to this emotional dysregulation.

She reviewed the existing Behavior Therapy (BT) literature to see what techniques had already been proven to effectively modulate intense emotional states like anger, anxiety, depression, and fear.  CBT techniques that worked for those emotional issues were a good starting point to test on the emotionally dysregulated population she wanted to help.  She also identified how mindfulness skills developed by practices such as meditation, often seen in religious or spiritual practices, may benefit these clients. Applying these skills in the context of DBT is not dependent on any particular religious or spiritual belief. Mindfulness skills are utilized for many reasons. These DBT Skills enable group members to become more proficient at slowing down and observing, describing, and labeling their emotional experiences, thoughts, and other internal experiences. With practice those skills also help them to participate more in the present moment and become more effective in decision making and problem solving, precluding impulsive actions that might make situations worse, and exacerbate or prolong emotional distress.

Although she imported a variety of tools, she was able to group them in a well organized treatment package.  And given that many of the skills are effective on their own for treating particular problems, it makes sense that group members learning how to utilize many of them together increase the probability they can address many different kinds of intrapersonal and interpersonal challenges.