DBT: A New Therapy Model That Is Not Just Trendy, But Transformative
Englewood, NJ – Women in their young 20s living in NYC just can’t get enough of DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy. A mindfulness-based therapy created by Marsha M. Linehan, a psychology researcher at the University of Washington, DBT was originally used to treat persons with borderline personality disorder. Since then, DBT groups have proven effective for individuals suffering a wide range of emotional issues including eating disorders, anger management, a desire to self-injure, suicidal tendencies, high-risk behavior, and depression.
DBT combines standard cognitive-behavioral techniques with concepts of mindfulness, the practice of calm awareness in the present moment of one’s feelings, both physical and emotional. DBT groups “teach coping skills and require action-oriented behavior from participants,” says Shoshana Mirvis, a psychotherapist who facilitates groups in Manhattan and NJ.
Unlike group therapy, she explains, DBT groups are structured like a class. Participants certainly get to know each other, but most of the weekly one-hour sessions focuses specifically on learning a new skill, whether it’s how to effectively manage emotions, feel less overwhelmed by life, or how to self-soothe. “We begin each session with a mindfulness exercise, whether it’s breath work, meditation, or simply focusing our attention,” Mirvis explains. “Next, we review homework, which participants commit to completing each week. And then we work on a new skill.” Skills are broken down into four modules: core mindfulness skills, interpersonal effectiveness skills, emotion regulation skills, and distress tolerance skills.
In Manhattan, where Mirvis currently facilitates groups, DBT groups are a much sought after commodity. “They are definitely hard to find and hard to get into,” she says. “Therapists screen potential candidates to make sure group members will match with each other, and also to get a sense of how committed the potential candidate is to working on their behavior.”
Experts find that some women who join DBT groups are simply challenged by drama in their lives – for example, someone who can’t seem to get over a bad breakup with a boyfriend, or who has a hard time being alone. “DBT is profoundly effective for a lot of individuals,” says Mirvis. “It not only teaches necessary life skills to help young women overcome dysfunctional behavior, but it also helps them achieve their goals.” Beginning in February, Mirvis will be screening candidates for DBT groups to be held on Wednesdays at The Rocking Chair, a Women’s Wellness Center in Englewood, NJ. The groups Mirvis will lead will specifically be geared towards women ages 18 – 35, either with a diagnosis or without.
For media inquiries, contact Jen Maidenberg, Mindful Living NJ, 973-464-3899.