Accelerated DBT Program for Adults

Our DBT team for adults, led by some of the first DBT Board Certified clinicians in the Northeast, is deeply experienced and extensively trained in DBT.  Please visit our About Us section for more details.

Our Accelerated DBT Program, which is similar to an intensive outpatient program (IOP) is a group based, more structured and intensive version of our standard adult DBT program. It meets 2 hours per day, two days each week for six weeks. This accelerated format is intended for those who are interested in adding additional support and structure compared to standard DBT. It may also be a good consideration for those who want or need to move more quickly with their treatment.

So, generally speaking, how does DBT work?

For DBT to be successful, the treatment has to do two things effectively: (1) teach skills that people need in order to move closer toward their life goals, and (2) help people cultivate an ability to work these skills into their daily lives. Our Accelerated DBT Program is designed to help participants achieve both of these goals.

There are two parts of our Accelerated DBT Program. When people sign up for the accelerated program we ask that they make a commitment to the full program for the entire six-week period.

Part One: DBT Skills Training
In our Accelerated DBT Program, DBT skills are taught in a structured group format using Marsha Linehan’s 2015 updated curriculum. The DBT skills group is limited to a maximum of eight participants, and is run very much like a class or a seminar. It meets two times per week for one hour each time.

The curriculum includes the following five DBT skill modules:

Core Mindfulness
This module teaches participants how to focus the mind, direct attention, and to observe and describe what they are feeling and thinking in the moment without judgement. These skills can help to people develop a more stable sense of who they are, and can help reduce reactivity to painful thoughts and emotions.

Distress Tolerance
Distress Tolerance targets impulsivity by teaching adults how to effectively distract and soothe themselves while considering pros and cons of their actions. These skills typically replace problem behaviors such as self-injury, substance use, binge eating, and angry outbursts.

Emotion Regulation
These skills address emotional sensitivity, rapid mood changes, and other unregulated moods such as chronic depression, anxiety, or anger. Learning how to identify and label emotions, how to increase positive moods, and how to make one less vulnerable to negative moods are examples of specific skills that we cover in this module.

Interpersonal Effectiveness
This module addresses difficulties in maintaining consistent and rewarding relationships by teaching skills such as how to ask for what you want, how to say no in an effective way, and how to maintain a sense of self-respect and independence in the face of external pressure.

Middle Path
These skills target extreme and non-balanced thinking and behavior by learning about common areas of conflict and polarization, both internal and external, and reducing this conflict by learning strategies including behavioral change, validation and acceptance.

Part Two: DBT Group Psychotherapy
This group is limited to a maximum of eight participants, and is focused on developing and refining the ability to apply skills taught in DBT skills group to daily life. Each group meets for forty-five minutes, and will have a general discussion topic that correlates with the DBT skills being taught in the skills group. One of the benefits of DBT group psychotherapy is that each participant, in addition to receiving significant individualized attention from the group leader, gets to hear how other participants make use of DBT skills, affording an even broader learning opportunity.

Weekly Therapist Consultation Team
All participants in our Accelerated DBT Program benefit from our team participation in weekly therapist consultation. Our DBT treatment team meets weekly for ninety minutes to share feedback and to discuss methods to ensure effective and compassionate treatment. We spend time problem-solving difficulties that interfere with client progress in treatment, and help keep each other practicing within a dialectical framework.

Individual DBT Psychotherapy Option
Participants in our Accelerated DBT Program also have the option to engage in individual DBT psychotherapy with a member of our team both during and after their time in the program. Individual DBT psychotherapy is the main way of developing and refining the ability to apply skills taught in DBT skills group to daily life. DBT clients usually meet individually with their therapist one to two times per week for a forty-five minute session. A benefit of doing so would be access to ongoing phone coaching. This part of the treatment is designed to promote use of skills where it matters most – in daily life. When our clients feel unsure of how to approach a particular situation, they are encouraged to contact their individual therapists for help in using DBT skills.

Participants need to meet with one of the members of our team for an initial consultation prior to beginning the Accelerated DBT Program. We do require that participants in our Accelerated DBT Program meet weekly with an individual therapist or psychologist/psychiatrist while going through our program. The individual therapist or psychologist/psychiatrist does not need to be part of our Center or DBT trained.

What happens after the completion of the six-week accelerated DBT program?
For some this is all that is needed, and no further DBT treatment is required. Others will transition into our standard DBT adult program. If needed, it is also possible to repeat the six-week accelerated DBT program.