Group Therapy

DBT Groups

Dialectical Behavior Therapy Group
In-Person in Boulder, CO

What is DBT?

DBT is exceptionally effective in helping people create change and tolerate difficult experiences and feelings. DBT groups have been known to help people who are stuck make enough change to feel freedom and hope for a more satisfying life. 

DBT stands for Dialectical Behavior Therapy. DBT is an evolution of CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that employs the central tenets of CBT and introduces more mindfulness concepts. The foundation of each is increasing your awareness of how you feel, think and act and how those three aspects interact to create the life you have. 

DBT also includes a focus on specific skills for accepting that which we can not change both in ourselves and in the world around us. As you may imagine, this skill on its own is enormously valuable. 

Here are some specific skills that are addressed in DBT groups

  1. Emotion Regulation: Young adulthood is a time of significant emotional volatility and turbulence. DBT equips young adults with effective tools and strategies to manage and regulate their emotions. By learning skills like mindfulness, distress tolerance, and emotion regulation, young adults can gain better control over their emotions and reduce impulsive or self-destructive behaviors.
  2. Interpersonal Effectiveness: Building and maintaining healthy relationships is essential for young adults. DBT teaches them valuable communication skills, assertiveness, and boundary-setting techniques, helping them navigate interpersonal challenges effectively. These skills can enhance their personal relationships, academic/professional interactions, and social connections. For many young adults it can be hard to find people to spend time with, especially people who are safe and open minded. 
  3. Distress Tolerance: Young adulthood can bring about stressful situations, transitions, and challenges. DBT teaches young adults how to tolerate and cope with distress without resorting to harmful or impulsive behaviors. By learning distress tolerance skills like self-soothing techniques and coping strategies, young adults can navigate difficulties in a healthier manner.
  1. Mindfulness skills: Mindfulness is a core component of DBT. By practicing mindfulness, young adults learn to be fully present in the moment, observe their thoughts and emotions without judgment, and develop self-awareness. You would be surprised how much we humans are unaware of what is going on for us. Being able to understand what is happening for you can help you identify triggers, manage stress, and make more conscious choices.
  2. Self-Respect and Self-Acceptance: DBT emphasizes self-respect and self-acceptance as essential components of personal growth. Young adults often face challenges related to self-esteem and self-worth. DBT helps them develop a compassionate and non-judgmental stance towards themselves, fostering self-acceptance and improving their overall self-image.
  3. Problem-Solving Skills: DBT equips young adults with effective problem-solving skills, enabling them to approach challenges in a systematic and constructive manner. These skills help them identify solutions, set achievable goals, and make informed decisions, enhancing their overall problem-solving abilities.
  4. Coping with Impulsivity and Risk-Taking: Young adults can be more prone to impulsive behaviors and risk-taking. DBT provides them with practical tools to manage impulsive urges and make thoughtful choices. By increasing self-awareness and utilizing specific skills, young adults can reduce impulsive behaviors and make more informed decisions.

DBT offers a comprehensive and evidence-based approach to help young adults navigate the challenges they face during this important stage of their lives. By developing emotional regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance, mindfulness, problem-solving skills, and self-acceptance, young adults can experience significant personal growth, improved mental well-being, and a greater sense of control over their lives.

Why should I try a group, can’t I do DBT alone?

Group therapy has several advantages over individual therapy that make it particularly effective for young adults. Here are some reasons why group therapy can be more beneficial for this age group:

  1. Peer Support and Validation: Young adults often struggle with feelings of isolation and believe that they are the only ones facing specific challenges. (sound familiar?) Group therapy provides a supportive and safe environment where you can connect with your peers who may have similar experiences. This sense of belonging and validation can be incredibly powerful and can reduce feelings of loneliness and stigma.Social Learning: Young adulthood is a period of significant social and emotional development that is very important. Group therapy offers a unique opportunity for young adults to observe and learn from others who may be dealing with similar issues. They can witness different perspectives, coping strategies, and interpersonal dynamics, and gain insights into their own behaviors and emotions. This social learning aspect can be highly beneficial in promoting personal growth and building social skills.
  2. Social Learning: Young adulthood is a period of significant social and emotional development that is very important. Group therapy offers a unique opportunity for young adults to observe and learn from others who may be dealing with similar issues. They can witness different perspectives, coping strategies, and interpersonal dynamics, and gain insights into their own behaviors and emotions. This social learning aspect can be highly beneficial in promoting personal growth and building social skills.
  3. Interpersonal Feedback and Skill Building: In group therapy, young adults have the opportunity to receive feedback from their peers in a supportive and non-judgmental setting. This feedback can help them gain insights into their own behaviors, improve self-awareness, and develop healthier interpersonal skills. Group members can practice effective communication, conflict resolution, and boundary-setting, enhancing their relationships both within and outside of therapy. Remember, your group therapist will be great at making sure this isn’t too weird and that the groups learns effective ways to give and receive feedback.
  1. Role Modeling: Young adults often benefit from seeing positive role models who have overcome similar challenges. In group therapy, they can witness the progress and successes of other group members, which can inspire hope and provide motivation for their own growth and recovery. Observing others who have faced similar difficulties and achieved positive change can be particularly impactful and encouraging for young adults.
  3. Support and Accountability: Group therapy offers a built-in support system that extends beyond the therapy sessions. Group members can provide support, encouragement, and accountability to each other outside of therapy, creating a network of individuals who understand their struggles and can offer ongoing assistance. This social support can be especially important for young adults who may be navigating various life transitions and facing new responsibilities.
  5. Cost-Effectiveness: Group therapy is generally more cost-effective than individual therapy since the cost is shared among group members. This can make therapy more accessible for young adults who may have financial limitations or limited access to healthcare resources.

Do Any of These Ring True?

Here are some common complaints that young adults may bring to therapy:

  1. Anxiety and Stress: Many young adults experience high levels of anxiety and stress due to academic pressures, career uncertainties, financial challenges, relationship issues, or the overall transition to adulthood. They may seek therapy to learn coping mechanisms, reduce anxiety symptoms, and develop strategies for managing stress effectively.

  2. Depression and Mood Disorders: Young adults can face challenges related to depression, feelings of sadness, and a lack of motivation. They may express a desire to understand their emotions better, develop healthier thought patterns, and find ways to improve their mood and overall mental well-being.

  3. Identity and Self-Exploration: Young adulthood is a time of self-discovery and identity formation. Some young adults may feel confused or uncertain about their identity, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Therapy can provide a safe space for exploration, self-reflection, and gaining a clearer understanding of oneself.

  4. Relationship and Interpersonal Issues: Young adults may struggle with romantic relationships, friendships, or family dynamics. They may seek therapy to improve their communication skills, navigate conflict resolution, set boundaries, or address attachment issues.

  5. Academic and Career Challenges: Many young adults face academic pressures, career choices, or difficulties adjusting to the workforce. They may need assistance with decision-making, time management, career exploration, or developing strategies for success in their chosen fields.
  1. Life Transitions and Adjustment Issues: Young adulthood is a time of significant life transitions, such as moving away from home, starting college, entering the workforce, or becoming financially independent. Young adults may seek therapy to cope with these changes, manage the associated stress, and navigate the adjustment process.

  3. Body Image and Self-Esteem: Body image concerns and low self-esteem can be prevalent among young adults. They may seek therapy to improve body image perceptions, enhance self-esteem, and develop a healthier relationship with themselves.

  5. Trauma and Past Experiences: Some young adults may have experienced traumatic events or challenging childhood experiences. Therapy can help them process and heal from these experiences, address any resulting emotional or behavioral issues, and build resilience.

  7. Deep Loneliness and or Isolation: COVID was impactful on the world and the folks who are young adults now were impacted in a unique way. After the years of online life, there are significant numbers of young adults who struggle to make quality human connections, find meaning in their lives and may be spending a majority of their waking hours on screens in a way that leaves them feeling lonely, hopeless and with low self esteem.

How DBT can help: Here are some common outcomes from DBT groups

Young adults who participate in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) groups often report several positive outcomes. While individual experiences may vary, here are some common positive outcomes that young adults have reported after engaging in DBT group therapy:

  1. Improved Emotional Regulation: DBT equips young adults with practical skills and techniques to better manage and regulate their emotions. Participants often report a greater ability to identify, understand, and express their emotions in healthier ways. They become more adept at handling emotional distress and experience a reduction in impulsive or self-destructive behaviors.
  3. Enhanced Interpersonal Relationships: DBT group therapy focuses on developing effective interpersonal skills, such as assertiveness, active listening, and boundary-setting. Young adults frequently report improvements in their relationships, both personal and professional. They gain the confidence to express their needs and opinions, establish healthier boundaries, and communicate more effectively.
  5. Increased Distress Tolerance: DBT helps young adults build resilience and develop coping strategies to tolerate distressing situations without resorting to impulsive or harmful behaviors. Participants often report a greater ability to manage stress, handle difficult emotions, and navigate challenging circumstances with more resilience.
  7. Mindfulness and Present-Moment Awareness: DBT emphasizes mindfulness as a core skill. Young adults learn to cultivate non-judgmental awareness of their thoughts, emotions, and sensations in the present moment. This heightened mindfulness promotes a greater sense of self-awareness, reduces rumination, and allows for more conscious decision-making and response to situations.
  1. Reduced Self-Stigma and Increased Self-Acceptance: DBT groups provide a supportive and non-judgmental environment where young adults can openly discuss their struggles. Through sharing experiences with peers, participants often report reduced self-stigma and a greater sense of self-acceptance. They develop a compassionate view of themselves and recognize that they are not alone in their challenges.
  3. Improved Problem-Solving Skills: DBT helps young adults develop effective problem-solving skills, enabling them to approach challenges in a more structured and constructive manner. Participants learn to identify and evaluate possible solutions, set realistic goals, and make informed decisions. This skill-building process empowers young adults to navigate life’s obstacles more effectively.
  5. Increased Confidence and Empowerment: Through participating in DBT groups, young adults often experience an increased sense of confidence and empowerment. They gain a better understanding of their own capabilities, develop a greater sense of self-efficacy, and feel more equipped to handle life’s difficulties. This increased confidence can have a positive impact on various aspects of their lives, including academic pursuits, career aspirations, and personal relationships.