Welcome to DBT Pretreatment Group (PTG)! We are excited that you chose to get started right away on learning skills to build your life worth living. It can seem overwhelming and confusing at first on how to make the most out of PTG — here are some tips to get you started!
- This group is a psycho-educational group designed to teach you DBT skills while you are waiting for a TBC for CBT individual therapist to be assigned. Although learning the DBT skills is an important part of DBT we want to be clear that attending PTG group is NOT Full Comprehensive DBT treatment. Unless you have a TBC for CBT individual therapist, TBC for CBT is not responsible for any clinical care other than simply providing you a place and structure to learn DBT skills. You must have a primary provider who will assume responsibility for any crises or any other clinical care to attend this group. When a therapist opening comes up you will be notified and offered individual therapy to begin full, comprehensive DBT Treatment. Being in PTG puts you ahead of the wait list for an individual therapist. Group leaders will provide brief “check-ins” once a month to see how things are going and to help you problem solve any difficulties with the group. This is not individual therapy.
- The Group is on Thursdays from 4:30-6:00 at 219 Cook St., Brandon, Fl. 33511. The fee is 60.00 per group but we require a pre-pay of $360.00 for each module. (6 sessions). There are 4 Modules of DBT skills. You can attend one, or all of them. We also request a Credit Card Authorization form be filled out to ease in billing. There is no refund for missed groups within that module. We will be teaching out of the DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets by Marsha Linehan. TBC for CBT will have a few available for purchase for $35.00. (at cost) or you can order your own.
- Prior to attending, you will attend a 90-minute Consultation Session with one of our therapists to get you set up. The fee for this is $200.00. The therapist doing the Consultation Session may not be the therapist you get assigned. They will obtain some clinical history, orient you to the group, and get the paperwork completed. We encourage you to bring family or a support person. Once this session is completed, you will get a start date for your first group.
- It’s advised to have clear behavioral goals to apply the skills to. It is difficult to accomplish goals that are vague or too broad. Rather than having a goal such as “I want to be happier” (which we all do!) or “I want to be calmer”, identify specific behaviors you would engage in if the goal were accomplished and, at the same time, identify behaviors you need to stop engaging in to reach those goals. For example, a goal could be increasing the ability to tolerate feedback from others without shutting down or verbally lashing out. Or a goal could be engaging in social activities outside of your home at least 1x/ week. We call these “target behaviors” and this is how you will refer to them in group.
- Complete either a Behavioral Chain Analysis (pages 19-23 in your DBT skills book) every time you engage in a behavior you want to decrease or eliminate, or a Missing Links Analysis when you fail to engage in a behavior you are trying to practice or increase when it would have been beneficial. Your PTG group leader will teach these analysis skills, and regular use will help you get clarity around what keeps behaviors you don’t want around or stops more adaptive behaviors from being present when you want them to be!
- While we do require individuals in PTG to have an outside provider, it is not a requirement for your outside provider to be a therapist. However, we have found that individuals whose provider is a therapist tend to grasp the skills quicker and make progress faster. Have a therapist that you meet with on a regular basis (at least 2x/ month) and talk about your behavioral goals and the skills with them.
- Attend all of the groups and do all of the homework! There are lots of valid reasons why doing one or both of those things is incredibly challenging right now. If you are having difficulty with either, please be sure to try to problem-solve it on your own as well as get help from your TBC for CBT group leader and your outside provider. The skills can be incredibly effective at making changes AND, for many of us, they are a completely new way of thinking and acting. It takes dedication and commitment to keep choosing to practice the skills when having strong urges to fall back on habits you are trying to change. Like anything you have learned in your life, it takes practice to learn these new skills — give yourself as much opportunity as you can by attending group and intentionally doing the homework.
- Do the diary card! Make sure you get a clear understanding of how to use the diary card from your group leader and complete it daily. Tracking your behaviors, moods, and skill use will increase your self-awareness and help you make the changes you want. The diary card helps to increase your use of mindfulness skills and can help behavior change to occur.
- Talk about the skills with your support people. Sharing what you’re learning with your friends and family will increase your own understanding of the skills and will also make it possible for them to use the same language/framework with you. There are a variety of online support groups to discuss skills use as well!