Blog

Thursday, January 8, 2015

DBT Family Skills Group

Dealing with an emotionally sensitive child or adolescent can be challenging, aggravating and bewildering.  Parents often struggle with managing their own feelings and needs while remaining connected and compassionate to these sensitive children who seem to demand so much. We are happy to offer a 12-week workshop series designed to provide parents with the skills to better cope with and support their emotionally reactive child or adolescent.

DBT, or Dialectical Behavior Therapy, as developed by Marsha Linehan, PhD of the University of Washington-Seattle, is a skills-based training that has demonstrated effectiveness in helping emotionally sensitive/reactive people to manage their lives more effectively.  The Family Skills Training Core Foundation Skills taught in this workshop are based on The DBT Family Skills Training Manual by Perry Hoffman, PhD of Cornell University.  Most people who have gone through training in DBT agree that this is “basic training that everyone should have.” We all need emotional awareness to be the best parent/friend/spouse possible.

As parents, you have read the books and followed recommended child rearing practices,  However, if your child has mood regulation difficulties he/she can quickly escalate their behavior to the point where the whole family seems to rise and fall with the mood.  Safety can become an issue as well as what the other children in the family are being exposed to.  We also know that biological vulnerability plays a large role here, and often one parent or another is up against the same challenges.  When parents are involved in changing, the child/adolescent receives the most effective modeling possible. An underlying principle in DBT is that we are each doing the best that we can AND there are more skills to learn!  The changes you make now will benefit future generations to come.

In this workshop, parents learn the same DBT skills that their child is learning, in order to help the entire family to communicate and function in a healthier way. As a parent, learning DBT Skills will allow you to:
  • Help everyone in the family to get their needs met.
  • Help understand the difficulties encountered by those who are emotionally sensitive and reactive.
  • Improve family communications and relationships.
  • Gain a common language with your child or adolescent and support his/her in learning new coping skills.
  • Provide structure to constructively and safely problem solve.
  • Reduce the level of emotionality in the family when talking about difficult issues.
  • Increase respect for your child’s efforts in trying new skills, along with encouragement to implement them.
  • Reduce shame and blame, providing new understanding and a problem-solving attitude.
  • Assist family members in changing aspects of family functioning for the benefit of future generations.

DBT skills Include:
  • Core Mindfulness Skills
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills
  • Emotion regulation Skills
  • Distress tolerance Skills
  • Validation Skills
Each FST series runs for 12 sessions.  We will be meeting weekly on Tuesdays starting January 27, 2015 from 6:30 to 8:00 PM in the group room at GMH.  The sessions are $60 each and the whole 12 weeks is offered as a package ($720 total; payment can be made in installments).  A discount for two members from the same family is offered ($50 per session per person; $1200 total for two). Although we normally file insurance for our patients, insurance does not cover skills based training programs.

Space is limited so that each group member gets maximum benefit.


Co-lead by Mary Anne Hartye, PhD and Biancamaria Penati, PhD in Raleigh, NC. They have been working together as a team to help children and adolescents, and their parents, for over 18 years. To sign up for the series, please leave Dr. Hartye a message at 919-406-6179.
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