DBT for Partners/Couples back by popular demand starts January 11th, 2023 Your relationship is WORTH it!

Families in Need: Compassion in Chaos

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For Families of persons with emotion dysregulation:  

Looking for some support to cope with covid and loved ones who may be escalating during this difficult time? Getting support for yourself is crucial in order stay healthy.

Compassion in Chaos workshops/support groups are now running every Monday from 6:30 to 8:30pm EST.  We will be learning skills each week and supporting each other.  This group has both a psycho-educational and a support discussion component. 

This group is online.  We use zoom and will send out a link prior to the start of each group within 1 hour of group start.

You will need to register for each group to secure a spot

This group is facilitated by Julie Sine, MSW, RSW and Lucy Xie, MSW, RSW (Read about these two fabulous facilitators here)

Compassion in Chaos Drop-In Program: Postponed to re-start on October 3, 2022

October 3, 2022 : Understanding mind states (Rational, Emotion and Wise Mind)

Our loved ones find themselves in emotion mind most of the time. In this session we will learn to understand ourselves and our loved ones through the lens of wise mind.

October 10, 2022 is Thanksgiving Weekend

October 17, 2022 : The STOP skills : Stop, take a step back, observe and proceed mindfully. Learn how to pause and avoid a crisis.

Do you ever find yourself responding or reacting to your loved one in a way that seems to escalate the situation? The STOP skill put the breaks on potentially explosive situations, allowing us time to choose a more effective response. If we don’t know how to STOP, then it is very difficult to put any other DBT skill into practice. One moment of mindfulness can begin to break the cycle of reactivity with our loved one.

October 24, 2022: The TIPP Skill : Using physiology to reduce the impact of stressful situations. Help your loved ones learn to deescalate too!

Emotions can still run high even when we learn to pause before responding.  Enter the TIPP skill. (Temperature, Intense Exercise, Progressive Relaxation and Paced Breathing) This very effective skill teaches us how to use our own bodies to calm down so that we can access our wiser side. Working with our parasympathetic nervous system this skill can be crucial for those of us who have loved ones who are in frequent distress. Learn the skill and model it for them. 

November 7, 2022 : Distraction is one of the go-to methods in DBT to tolerate distress and prevent acting on emotion. Use the senses to self-soothe.

Expand your tool kit for positive distraction by learning to engage all of your senses to calm down. Learn how getting busy helping others, engaging your cognitive faculties, and purposefully engaging with pleasant distractions can go a long way to tolerating painful emotions. Encourage your loved one to do the same.

November 14, 2022 – This skill teaches six techniques for finding inner resources under stress. We also build a template for the DBT distress tolerance kit.

IMPROVE is particularly helpful for family members who may not be in crisis, but are finding the stress of supporting a loved one with emotion dysregulation to be straining their emotional resources. Learn how finding the meaning behind what you are doing in a tough moment can make all the difference, and practice guided imagery and self-encouragement.

November 21, 2022 – Valued living accumulates positives and helps regulate emotions. Cope ahead for situations with your loved one and help them build mastery.

The ABC skill is an emotion regulation skill that helps us to Accumulate the Positives in our lives for long term happiness. Does your loved one struggle to complete tasks and suffer from low self-esteem? The Build Mastery skill leads to greater self-efficacy and positive change. Sometimes our loved ones have events and situations coming up that they need to prepare for emotionally–we do too! Learn how with Cope Ahead.

November 28, 2022 – When we are caring for others our own self-care can be neglected. The DBT skill to keep us and our loved ones on track is the PLEASE skill

Sometimes the most basic things like diet, exercise, sleep and medicine are the ones that get neglected. Our loved ones may struggle to take medication with regularity or attend health appointments; we may be struggling with our sleep hygiene and neglecting our own exercise and diet. The PLEASE skill emphasizes how planning and making time for these self-care activities is crucial for us and our loved ones.

Compassion in Chaos Drop-In Program, DBT 200

Past Sessions 2021
October 4th Crisis Analysis and Prevention: “How does this keep happening?!”
When our loved ones act out, it feels like they’re going from 0 to 60 in the moment; however, thoughts and feelings can go off the rails well before rage, self-harm, or substance use happens. Understand your loved one’s crisis moments for prevention and insight. Analyze your own chain
reaction to your loved one and see where you can improve. With Julie and Elizabeth.

October 11th: Thanksgiving Break

October 18th Understanding Emotions: Foundations of Mindfulness of Emotion
Why are emotions valuable? What is happening when your loved one has a strong emotion? Begin to build your awareness of your own emotions and understand the pitfalls of your loved one’s emotional reasoning. With Julie and Elizabeth.

October 25th The Iceberg of Emotional Reactivity: What’s Underneath an Emotion?
Our loved ones have certain emotions because they are trying to avoid others. We do too. Not understanding what we’re really feeling can sabotage relationships. Learn how to explore the feelings hidden beneath emotional reactions. With Julie and Elizabeth.

November 1st React, Suppress or Be Mindful? Why and How to Choose Mindfulness?
What’s to gain by being mindful instead of suppressing or acting on an emotion? Learn how noticing emotions as sensations in the body can help us let the painful stories and judgments go. Learn the steps of Mindfulness of Emotion. With Julie and Elizabeth.

November 8th Calm Amidst the Storm: A Meditation Training in Compassionate Attention
Learn how to safely allow a strong emotion about your loved one to be present without acting it out. Instead, mindfully surf it and send your self some compassion. This training is great for people who suppress emotions and those who “act out” emotions. Start a values inventory to
understand what matters most in your life. With Julie and Elizabeth.

November 15th Check the Facts: The Power of Checking Our Negative Assumptions
Our judgments about our loved ones can send us spinning into a harmful reaction. Instead, we can Check the Facts and face our catastrophic thoughts calmly. Practice becoming aware of how your loved one is influenced by their negative distortions and judgements so you can help them. With Julie and Elizabeth.

November 22 Cancelled

November 29th Change Unwanted Emotions and Urges: The Powerful Skill of Opposite Action
When we have emotions that don’t fit the facts followed by urges that threaten to move us away from our goals and values, the skill we turn to is Opposite Action. Learn Opposite Action for when acting on your emotion is going to cause more harm than good, so that you can be the one in the driver’s seat, not your emotion. Help your loved one learn to “act opposite”. With Julie and Elizabeth.

December 6th When It’s Just Not You: Solving Real World Problems to Change Emotions
Sometimes we’ve tried all kinds of “inner” solutions, and nothing is working! This can be because the source of our unwanted emotion is out in the world, not inside of us. DBT has a skill for this: Problem Solving. Help your loved one strategize and execute problem solving for more lasting emotional change and identify problems that need solving in your own life. With Julie and Elizabeth.

December 13th Core Interpersonal Effectiveness in DBT: The DEAR MAN Skills
Become mindful of your priorities going into a difficult interaction to avoid getting off track. Know which skill to choose to obtain your objective with your loved one—or with anyone! These skills are great for relationships of any kind, personal or professional. With Julie and Elizabeth.

December 20th DEAR MAN Practice: Putting Your Core Interpersonal Skills into Action
Rehearse the DEAR MAN skills to be ready for difficult, real-life scenarios. Learn how to combine the skills to maintain your self-respect while still validating your loved one AND getting something done! With Julie and Elizabeth.


January 24 Validation is Oxygen, Steps 1-3: Listen, Reflect, and Check  Validation is the ultimate tool for building relationships of any kind and deescalating conflict with your loved one. We will walk you through the first three steps and practice them together, because validating your dysregulated loved one takes repeated practice! With Julie and Elizabeth.

January 31 Validation Is Oxygen, Steps 4-6: Their Causes, Your Actions, and Being Genuine When we consider the causes behind our loved one’s dysregulation, validation flows more easily. Learn that validation is more than words: it’s actions. There is space in validation for our own radical genuineness: it’s a dialectic. With Julie and Elizabeth.

February 7 Self-Validation: Healing from Hurt While Supporting a Loved One
Invalidation is any message we get that we shouldn’t feel what we feel or be how we are. We may have internalized invalidating messages from our loved ones or in childhood. How can we begin to reverse the cycle? Our emotions will often stick around until we validate them and show them understanding—learn how to do this kind act for yourself. With Julie and Elizabeth.

February 14th: Valentine’s Day Break

February 21 Self-Compassion 101: Meeting Disappointment and Hurt with Self-Compassion
Meet difficult moments with your loved one with more self-kindness in three easy steps. Learn to feel less alone and more connected in the world. Disarm your inner critic with Mindful Self Compassion, a now widely studied and clinically practiced discipline. With Julie and Elizabeth.

February 28 At Peace with My Emotions: Radically Accepting Painful Stuff, Steps 1&2
Break the cycle of fighting where your loved one is current at—or any other issue that requires acceptance. Learn the first two steps for making space for a painful reality in order not to make it worse. See your negativity begin to lessen and melt away with radical acceptance. With Julie and Elizabeth.

March 7th Curious and Compassionate: Radically Accepting Painful Stuff, Steps 3&4
Continuing from last week, investigate what’s going on and learn to be curious instead of reacting when a strong emotion about your loved-one comes up. Continue to build your self compassion skills with step four of the training. Remember, more compassion for yourself means more compassion for your loved one! With Julie and Elizabeth.

March 14 Mindfulness of Thoughts: Becoming Less Reactive to Painful Thoughts
Learn to see thoughts as thoughts, NOT facts. This is the key to mindfulness! Do an exercise to become aware of the stories you are telling yourself and let them go—become more aware of your loved one’s judgments and interpretations. When we can watch a thought without reacting, this is the beginning of freedom. With Julie and Elizabeth.

March 21 Being Mind and Doing Mind: Combatting Caregiver Burnout with Being Mind
Do you feel guilty when you allow yourself a break? Are you burning out from the constant worrying about and caring for others? Learn how to recharge and savor simple moments of Being Mind, while still allowing for Doing Mind in one of the main Dialectics in DBT. With Julie and Elizabeth.

March 28 Behaviour Change: Give Up Unwanted Behaviours and Encourage New Ones
Learn reinforcement techniques to reduce unwanted behaviours and encourage wanted behaviours. Use reinforcement to build new healthy habits for yourself and encourage change in your loved one. Keep or renew those 2022 New Year’s resolutions! With Julie and Elizabeth.

April 4 The Dialectic of Addiction Recovery: Aim for the Best and Plan for the Worse
How does DBT approach addiction recovery, or cravings and slips of any kind? Help your loved one in their recovery and learn Dialectical ways to approach your own goals for personal behaviour change. With Julie and Elizabeth.

April 11 Mindfulness of Thoughts: Becoming Less Reactive to Painful Thoughts

Learn to see thoughts as thoughts, NOT facts. This is the key to mindfulness! Do an exercise to become aware of the stories you are telling yourself and let them go—become more aware of your loved one’s judgments and interpretations. When we can watch a thought without reacting, this is the beginning of freedom. With Julie and Elizabeth.

May 9

Tonight’s topic: Out of the chaos into a calmer compassion. At then end of this group we will help you walk away with more compassion hope and inspiration. These groups have been described as like “air” by those who attend.

Understanding our loved ones strengths and their gifts. We will be starting in WEEK 1 of our 24 week program . This is a great opportunity for you to start at the beginning of the program. This is a drop-in group and we strongly advise you come out to consecutive groups consistently as you will learn all the DBT skills by coming back each week. Skills build on skills before them etc. What the heck is DBT anyway? How does it help with BPD or what we like to call challenges with emotion regulation. In this session we will be explaining the complexity to the disorder and how it presents in our loved ones behaviour, thoughts and emotions. There is so much strength and courage in our loved ones and in ourselves. As peers we are a unique and special group. Speaking with others who truly understand our experience can be life saving. You are not alone. We will begin to look at things through the lens of Wise Mind. With Julie and Elizabeth.

Also, it’s a good idea to put yourself on our mailing list so you will be updated on upcoming help for both you and your loved ones, in addition to community events.  Click here to put yourself on our mailing list (We promise we don’t send out unrelated things!)

Dialectical Dispatches (Check out our blog!)

Our Team Paint Night December 2021!

Dialectical Living at Mindfest 2019


DBT Training with Shelley McMain – UofT School of Social Work and CAMH

Shelley McMain and Dialectical Living 6

Driving home the skills!

Try on your wise mind!

wise mind

Dialectical Living at Addiction Concert in Washington DC – Unite to Face Addiction Oct. 4th 2015 – The day the silence ends!