647-573-3287 / info@dialecticalliving.ca

Why you should attend a DBT Skills Group

When I first started researching DBT a few years back I saw that it came along with something that scared me, a GROUP!!!! My only experience with groups in the mental health sector at that point in my search had been when I was a teen. It was a therapist-led group for girls who experienced depression and anxiety. Instead of being like the groups I had seen on tv, where people talk about their struggles with other people who share similar experiences and gain valuable insight into their lives to help them improve, it was all about girls who were only there because of their parents. These girls didn’t identify as having depression and/or anxiety and filled  the time with talk about make-up, hair dye and other off topic things. It turned out to be a useless experience. Oddly enough I ended up running my own peer support group in my early twenties with great success! What worried me about the DBT group is I would be entering as a novice instead of the group leader and I was very worried that I would find myself surrounded by people who would just waste my time and make me angry. I also didn’t want to hear their stories. I believed it would be way to stressful.I decided to avoid DBT altogether.

I did eventually find an online DBT course that changed my life. It was the perfect balance and what I needed in that moment. I could learn in my own space and be alone while also interacting with the other participants in a more controlled manner via Anymeeting chat and Facebook. Probably what really made the difference though was that everyone who was in the class, and were participating in class and in the Facebook group, wanted to be there for the same reasons I wanted to be there, to stop living in a chaos and find peace.

When I found Dialectical Living and was offered to be trained as a DBT skills group facilitator I jumped at the chance to teach others the skills that had drastically improved my life. I was still scared about an in-person group. Would I be able to handle a group of people similar to myself? Would I be able to be the support some of them needed? I can now say that learning DBT skills in a group is probably the most productive group a person could ever attend. Meeting other people who are similar to you and learning together is so powerful. Seeing that collective nod of understanding as someone shares a story is very encouraging and validating. Being able to practice DBT skills with others who are learning along with you is very helpful and support you in understanding how to implement the skills in your daily life. In the case of Dialectical Living, having peer facilitators, changes the dynamic of the group in a positive way. Yes, some of us are social service professionals and we also have been through the mental health system, use DBT and work hard everyday to have a life worth living. I also believe that this being a SKILLS group and not a therapy group makes the difference. While we do share our experiences, we are all there to learn productive skills to help us overcome these obstacles. It is focused on a goal which helps keep us all on track. In the end I realized that I didn’t want to connect with my own people because being myself was painful enough. I needed to shift my focus and see the strength in other people. I have learned so much for the participants in the groups I have led and they have helped me I hope as much as I have helped them.

I understand why someone would still rather not attend a DBT skills group. Concerns about triggers, experiencing agoraphobia, anxiety, different learning styles and more are valid reasons to want an alternative to the DBT skills in-person group. In some cases, it’s about accessibility such as not living near a DBT program or health concerns. Dialectical Living offers two alternatives to the in-person group to meet the needs of our clients: an online DBT skills group and individual DBT skills coaching.

Whichever works for you, we hope you will join the Dialectical Living team and learn DBT with us! We are excited to be on this journey with you.

For more information please contact: info@dialecticalliving.ca

Register here: http://www.dialecticalliving.ca/register/

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