Dialectical Behaviour Therapy in Hamilton
What is DBT?
“Dialectical means “the existence of opposites.” In DBT, people are taught two seemingly opposite strategies: acceptance (i.e., that their experiences and behaviours are valid), and change (i.e., that they have to make positive changes to manage emotions and move forward).” – CAMH
DBT is often recommended by family doctors when concerns are raised around mood and emotional regulation. Many of our DBT families are taking a proactive approach to their family’s social and emotional health by building a family library of language, skills and strategies alongside their kids ahead of adolescence, so they can approach the teen years with a full ‘tool kit’ – rather than wait to learn these skills during times of distress or difficulty.
The word ‘dialectical’ refers to two seemingly opposite ideas that are both true at the same time. DBT teaches two sets of skills: acceptance skills and change skills. DBT skills help us move away from ‘all or nothing’ thinking, toward greater mental and emotional flexibility.
Who is DBT for?
DBT training can benefit everyone as part of a healthy & balanced approach to life! At NowWhat, we specialize in adapted DBT programs for minds of all kinds. Family doctors often recommend DBT as an invaluable tool for those managing challenges such as:
- Mood regulation challenges
- Social-emotional difficulties
- Struggles managing school dynamics
DBT concepts inform our entire collaborative model at NowWhat, and we have created a unique DBT-based curriculum for every age and stage (age 7 to adults, including adults with Intellectual Disabilities) that bring the skills and concepts to life in ways that are practical and relevant at every stage of life. The resources and activities are fun and relatable, led by experienced Masters of Social Work qualified Therapists, Psychotherapists and Behaviour Coaches. We take a customizable approach that includes 1:1 coaching, group sessions, and parent/family coaching sessions to form a unique and comprehensive opportunity to learn these essential social, emotional, and life skills in a positive and affirming environment.
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy – Our Approach and Delivery
At NowWhat Support Services, we have developed unique DBT programs, adapted specifically for various ages and stages from 7 to adult. Our therapeutic programs focus on accessibility for a neurodiverse population. Groups are generally 8 weeks long, with 2 levels for kids groups (7-14 yrs). There is a logical progression in concept building, skill development, and application from one level to the next.
We can deliver DBT content in mini-groups, family groups, or individually. Intake is rolling and continuous throughout the year. We can work with interest groups such as high-performance athletes (dance, hockey, soccer players, etc), and we can target our content and delivery for a wide range of developmental abilities.
Our DBT programs are not just effective, they’re also FUN! We believe in a strengths-based, proactive, hands-on, and positive approach to ‘therapy’ that connects people to themselves and others in healthy and joyful ways. We screen carefully to ensure that our groupings are a good fit, and work with families to explore whether the time is right for you to take on the commitment of a DBT group, as family support is key to long-term skill integration.
At NowWhat, we have flipped the perspective on DBT, which has traditionally been viewed as a crisis intervention program for adults, to a proactive, positive, strengths-focused (and FUN!) approach, adapted specifically for each age and life stage from age 7 to adults, including customized teen & family DBT, with a focus on neurodiversity inclusion.
One of the stated goals of DBT is “to define life goals, build self-respect, and find peace and happiness. The goal is for the person to lead a life of ordinary happiness and unhappiness.” (CAMH). One of the key skills taught by our DBT-informed groups is tolerating non-preferred tasks or moments, and riding out the normal ups and downs of life without being overwhelmed by the day-to-day.
Teaching DBT Skills
We love teaching DBT skills in a small group setting, so that participants can practice their skills in real time, with real-life scenarios. Our groups are typically 8 weeks long and we offer graduated levels for different age groups and abilities, spiraling deeper into the concepts and building new skills as kids brains and bodies mature. We welcome minds of all kinds, and can also teach DBT-based skills via 1:1 coaching if a group setting is not the best approach.
Our group intakes are rolling and continuous so Contact Us to get started!
The five modules of traditional DBT are:
- Mindfulness – bringing your whole self to participate in the present moment
- Emotional Regulation – riding out big feelings and expanding your ‘window of tolerance’
- Distress Tolerance – moving through discomfort, boredom, stress and frustration effectively (without making things worse)
- Interpersonal Effectiveness – seeing other perspectives, setting boundaries, getting what you need while protecting your important relationships
- Walking the Middle Path – finding effective compromises that balance your needs with the needs of others
Upcoming Group For DBT For Adults with ADHD (or ADHD-ish tendencies)
Back by popular demand! This fun, highly interactive group is for any adult who identifies as ADHD or ADHD-ish! Come meet like-minded people and learn essential social and emotional skills that will up your game at work, home, and in your relationships.
- November 27 – December 18, 2023, followed by a two-week break for the holidays, resuming January 8 – January 29th, 2024
- Monday nights from 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Realize the Benefits of DBT Training
The benefits of DBT are lifelong! Feedback from parents and graduates includes:
Therapists have time to really get to know participants over time so they can help them target specific personal challenges
The wraparound family and parent training included in children’s programs helps shift the language and tone in the whole household
DBT groups feel normalizing and empowering for participants and their families, we talk in terms of building skills, not ‘fixing problems’
Children & youth are supported while they make and maintain friendships with each other throughout the course (making new friends is a common highlight for graduates!)
For children’s groups, constant parent feedback and involvement means we can use language and examples that are meaningful to your kids, helping them make real-life connections that make a positive difference to the dynamic in your home
For adult groups, the solidarity and community formed with others who are in the same boat is a huge benefit
Gaining practical skills to have in their toolbox makes people feel more competent in their daily lives and better prepared to handle stressful situations at home, work, school and in relationships