Dialectical Behavioral Therapy(DBT) Skills Group in Massachusetts

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a highly effective form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) that focuses on teaching individuals essential skills for managing intense emotions and improving interpersonal relationships. Initially developed by Dr. Marsha M. Linehan in the 1980s to treat individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), DBT has since proven its efficacy in helping patients with various psychiatric disorders, including depressive disorders and anxiety disorders. The core principle of DBT lies in the dialectical balance between change and acceptance, acknowledging the need for both in promoting psychological well-being.

Objectives: The primary goal of the DBT Skills Group is to empower participants with practical skills to regulate emotions, cultivate mindfulness, enhance interpersonal effectiveness, and cope with distressing situations. By attending weekly sessions and engaging in homework assignments, participants can develop these skills progressively and integrate them into their daily lives, leading to improved emotional stability and better social functioning.

Program Structure

The DBT Skills Group is structured around four distinct modules, each building on the previous one to facilitate comprehensive skill development. The group meets weekly. Homework is assigned every week.

1. Mindfulness: The Mindfulness module draws on Eastern spiritual traditions and emphasizes living in the present moment without judgment. Participants learn to be aware of their environment, bodies, thoughts, and emotions, fostering a deeper understanding of themselves and their experiences. Mindfulness skills facilitate emotional regulation, reduce impulsivity, and enhance overall self-awareness. Participants may engage in various mindfulness practices, such as guided meditation, body scans, and mindful breathing exercises. These practices are designed to anchor individuals in the present, reducing rumination about the past or worry about the future. Moreover, research has shown that regular mindfulness practice can lead to improvements in emotional well-being, reduced stress, and increased overall life satisfaction.

2. Interpersonal Effectiveness: Interpersonal Effectiveness skills enable participants to navigate relationships effectively and assert their needs while respecting the boundaries of others. This module teaches individuals how to communicate assertively, listen actively, deal with difficult people, and negotiate conflicts constructively. Learning these skills can enhance interpersonal relationships, leading to more satisfying and fulfilling social interactions.  Participants may engage in role-playing exercises, group discussions, and real-life scenario simulations to practice assertive communication and conflict resolution. Research has shown that improving interpersonal effectiveness can lead to increased social support, reduced feelings of isolation, and improved overall mental health.

3. Emotion Regulation: The Emotion Regulation module focuses on understanding and managing intense emotions in a healthy manner. Participants learn to identify and label emotions, explore the functions of emotions, and develop strategies to cope with emotional distress effectively. Emotion regulation skills empower individuals to tolerate distressing emotions without resorting to maladaptive behaviors. Participants may learn techniques such as emotion labeling, cognitive reappraisal, and emotion-focused coping strategies. Research has indicated that improved emotion regulation skills are associated with reduced emotional reactivity, decreased symptoms of anxiety and depression, and enhanced overall emotional well-being.

4. Distress Tolerance Skills: The Distress Tolerance module equips participants with strategies to navigate difficult and distressing situations without engaging in harmful behaviors. Participants learn to tolerate distress and emotional discomfort while maintaining emotional balance and self-control. By acquiring these skills, individuals can avoid impulsive and harmful reactions during times of crisis. Participants may practice techniques like grounding exercises, self-soothing activities, and distraction techniques to manage distressing emotions and situations. Research has shown that effective distress tolerance skills can lead to a reduction in self-destructive behaviors, improved problem-solving abilities, and increased resilience in the face of adversity.

Enrollment and Fees

Before joining the group, each prospective group member undergoes a 1-2 session diagnostic intake. The intake may be billed to your insurance.

The DBT Skills Group is a self-pay group and members are charged $125 per group session (up to 90 minutes). Payment is due at the time of each session. Group members are expected to commit for the duration of the program. Enrollment is subject to group availability.

Group members are encouraged, but not required, to participate in individual therapy while participating in the skills group. Group members may request a referral from the Group Leader to an individual therapist.


The DBT Skills Group offers a comprehensive and evidence-based approach to enhance emotional regulation, mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, and distress tolerance. By attending weekly sessions and actively participating in the program, individuals can develop valuable life skills to cope with various emotional challenges and navigate relationships effectively. The incorporation of homework assignments further reinforces the learning process and facilitates the integration of these skills into daily life. The overall goal is an improved quality of life and increased psychological well-being for participants.


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