DBT Skills Classes

The ability to process your experiences in a healthy way and in a safe space with your individual therapist will always be critical to the therapy process, but adding a weekly skills group to weekly individual appointments enables clients to actually begin to implement true and lasting change in their lives.

DBT Skills Class

Dialectical Behavior Therapy’s (DBT) core innovation was augmenting individual therapy with the addition of a “skills class.” In most forms of traditional therapy, therapists and individual clients discuss various topics once or twice a week often processing recent events or the client’s past.

However, many therapists grew frustrated since these sessions usually fell into automatic pilot of discussing “the problem of the week” without any means of real change or growth. Clients may feel better temporarily after sharing what’s bothering them, but these same clients were functionally treading water and not experiencing growth that continued after the session was over.

The ability to process your experiences in a healthy way and in a safe space with your individual therapist will always be critical to the therapy process, but adding a weekly skills group to weekly individual appointments enables clients to actually begin to implement true and lasting change in their lives.

Clients learn how to understand their life in a new way through using skills, how to implement new strategies to cope with every type of unpleasant reaction from a crisis state all the way down to an uncomfortable conversation, and how over 100 skills and tools verified by scientific research can help them create a life worth living on their own terms.

While many therapists and group practices may offer individual therapy sessions or even “individual DBT therapy sessions,” they do not offer a skills group component with a professional and coherent presentation of what is the true engine of change in DBT.

Marsha Linehan, the inventor of DBT, emphasized in all of her publications how DBT requires both individual therapy sessions and a skills group component and anything without both parts cannot be considered DBT.

Many DBT professionals also recommend confirming the credentials of the clinician presenting DBT and how they were trained in the DBT system. As DBT has become increasingly popular in the last decade, many clinicians have begun to “practice DBT” without any formal training or education beyond reading a few chapters in a book.

Since there are no legal requirements such as board certification to offer DBT as a licensed therapist, many “DBT therapists” are simply trying to follow the crowd and offer something that Marsha Linehan would not consider DBT.

DBT is an extremely complex therapy system with myriad tools, strategies, and practices that can be difficult to remember and implement. The skills program continues to reference and build upon information from the first few presentations even near the end of the formal training program months later. Clients sometimes choose to complete the skills group multiple times to make sure they fully understand all of the pieces that make the system truly work. The best results come from working with clinicians that have mastered the clinical program and how to present this complex material to clients so they can actually use it.

How GearingUp Approaches DBT

GearingUp’s DBT leadership team has completed over 100 hours of advanced training with Marsha Linehan’s institute Behavioral Tech where DBT was invented and developed for over 30 years. In addition, our team has trained with many other DBT masters both from the United States and around the world including Dr. Lane Pederson, Dr. Tony DuBose, Dr. Melanie Harned, and Dr. Martin Bohus.

Dr. Sylvia Gearing has professionally taught DBT for thousands of hours to hundreds of clients since 2013, and GearingUp’s senior DBT team have also contributed to hundreds of hours of DBT classes and complementary individual therapy sessions to implement the system.

In addition, every DBT clinician at GearingUp has completed advanced training in DBT totaling over 150 hours including 80 hours of formal training, shadowing senior clinicians working with DBT, and multiple months of one-on-one supervision with our senior DBT leadership team.

Traditional DBT therapy requires skills groups to be delivered in person and last for two to three hours a day, often multiple days per week. However for most clients outside of a hospital or residential treatment setting, they simply cannot commit to that many hours of therapy each week in addition to their normally busy schedules. GearingUp now offers multiple flexible options for clients to complete the skills class portion of DBT on their schedule and in the way they prefer to learn. Clients can still experience the power of the DBT system without the extreme time commitment. Dr. Sylvia Gearing personally developed, wrote, and tested each session of these flexible DBT options over multiple years, and GearingUp’s DBT team has found them to be just as potent as the traditional extreme time commitment version of DBT skills class for driving change and growth in our clientele. In addition, Dr. Sylvia’s version also includes the latest developments in psychological research, new powerful tools from other related therapy systems such as Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy and Advanced Mindfulness practice, and best practices of how to effectively teach DBT skills both from her own personal experience as well as from DBT masters around the world.

GearingUp’s current DBT Skills class options include:

  • Live Classes (online and in-person) – the first option is the closest to the traditional DBT skills class but without the extreme time commitment each week. Live classes last for 90 minutes per week with one of GearingUp’s senior DBT clinicians and include Dr. Sylvia Gearing’s custom lesson plan covering every aspect of DBT with her personally written additions. Due to the large number of people attending these classes, they will be held on the same day and time every week. Each session will largely focus on the material to be presented that week, but there will be some opportunity for questions and discussion near the end of each class. New live classes are offered only a few times a year with limited capacity so make sure to ask about how to sign up as soon as possible!
  • One-On-One DBT Skills Training – receive personalized and direct instruction and coaching from one of GearingUp’s DBT clinicians following Dr. Sylvia’s custom curriculum. Instead of having to show up to class at the same day and time for months and months, one-on-one DBT skills training is far more flexible and can fit into your schedule. Your personal DBT coach will present each week’s skills material in a more discussion based format, and you will also have the opportunity for direct questions, discussion of how to apply DBT skills to your life, and a personalized approach for how DBT can help you build the life you want.
  • On-Demand Video Classes (coming soon) – access the life changing power of DBT on your schedule whenever you want with prerecorded on-demand video classes. GearingUp’s new online classroom features DBT skills classes and many other clinical classes taught personally by Dr. Sylvia Gearing and other special guests bringing you the latest and best information from the world of clinical psychology and more. The best part? You can rewatch videos whenever you choose, access audio-only versions of classes to listen and experience again like a favorite podcast, and follow customized curriculums with weekly plans and extra material. No need to schedule or keep up with any appointments while also learning from Dr. Sylvia Gearing and other top clinicians and industry leaders, on-demand video classes offer you the power of DBT’s life changing system whenever you are ready.
Live Classes One-On-One DBT VOD Classes
Full DBT Skills Group curriculum written by Dr. Sylvia X X X
Over 100 clinical skills proven by scientific research X X X
Lead by highly trained and experienced DBT clinicians X X X
Additional skills from latest research and related therapies X X X
Realistic time commitment of about one hour per week X X X
Experienced DBT clinician available for questions X X
Live discussion, Q&A, and applications of material X X
Fixed day and time scheduling every week X
Flexible scheduling X X
On-demand audio and video X
Live presentation by GearingUp DBT Leadership team member X
Personal coaching by GearingUp DBT trained clinician X
Presented by Dr. Sylvia Gearing *(rarely) X
Special Guest instructors from psychology and other fields X
Personalized coaching with in depth instructions X
Covered by most health insurance policies X
Presentation format generalized for everyone X X
Discussion based format based around personal application X

If you are ready to get started and take the first step with DBT therapy, please contact us today by calling our office, filling out a contact form, or through the chat window on this page. Our staff will follow up with you as soon as possible to schedule your first appointment.