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DBT Teen Groups

 DBT Group

**Who: This group is designed to support teens in 9th through 12th grades who struggle with anxiety.  Group participants will learn healthy coping skills anchored in dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT.)

What: DBT is an evidence-based treatment. Numerous research studies have shown it to be effective for treating various symptoms of emotional suffering.  DBT focuses on teaching new behavior for clients to utilize in moments of crisis, difficult interpersonal situations, and problems of everyday living.


DBT has four core content areas:

Mindfulness: Increasing awareness of the present moment to decrease destructive thoughts.

Emotion Regulation: Building strategies to understand and manage strong emotions

Distress Tolerance: Developing skills to calm overwhelming emotions and urges.

Interpersonal Effectiveness: Learning ways to communicate needs and emotions effectively.


Where: ValleyPoint Church Office Building located at: 209 Bethel Rd. Glen Mills, PA 19342


When: Tuesday evenings from 6:30 pm to 8:000 pm


Fee: $50.00 per person per week


Do you take insurance for group sessions?

No, because this is a psycho-educational course and we are not providing diagnostic codes and do not have billing codes. We are self-pay only.


Do you take insurance for individual therapy?

Yes! We accept Aetna, Cigna and Optum


DBT skills group participants must currently be meeting regularly with an individual therapist outside of the skills group in order to participate the in the group.  This can be a therapist at Canopy Counseling Unlimited or any other qualified therapist. The goal of this is to help you get the most out of the group sessions.  If you are interested in joining the DBT skills group and don’t currently have an individual therapist, please call our office at 610-229-9029 to discuss options. An initial consultation session is required prior to the beginning of the group.

Payment Methods: We accept all major credit cards, cash or check.     


**Limitations of group: This group may not be as beneficial for individuals with an intellectual disability or Autism due to  complex concepts and abstract thinking which  may be difficult to grasp. There will be social interactions and communications introduced and this may make it hard to participate fully.


What Happens in a DBT Group?

Thinking about joining a DBT group? 

Maybe a therapist suggested you check it out.  Or maybe you’ve just heard about DBT and are curious about how it can help you.  Let’s explain what happens in a Dialectical Behavior Therapy group and how it’s different from other therapy groups.

How is a DBT group different from other groups?

DBT group is not a therapy session​

Group time is not spent processing feelings between group members. The purpose of the group is to learn new skills so you have the tools to build the life you want. Learning practical ways to approach your life is the goal of each session.

DBT is not a support group​

You’ll get plenty of support and encouragement in learning the skills and using them in your life, but the focus of the group isn’t support.  For example, in a support group, group members may go around the room sharing details of what brought them to the group. In a DBT group, you will only share details of your personal life if you choose to and only as they relate to your use of the skills.

DBT group is more like a class​

Joining a DBT group is similar to taking a class, except without the pressure of tests and grades. You will be learning a new skill each week and have homework to help you try out the tools in your life.

DBT group is therapeutic but it’s not therapy​

DBT group helps you make changes, but it’s not therapy. The therapy part of DBT happens with your individual therapist. You need to be attending individual therapy sessions at the same time that you are participating in the group.

So what happens in the DBT group?

Mindfulness Practice

​Each group begins with a mindfulness practice. Mindfulness is the foundational skill in DBT and you get a chance to practice it every week.  The type of mindfulness practice you do varies from week to week. Some mindfulness exercises are done with your eyes closed (or you looking downward) and others are movement-oriented.  You don’t need to have any prior experience with mindfulness. The group will teach you both how and what to do to practice mindfulness.  If you’ve done mindfulness practice before, you’ll learn DBT’s approach to it.

Homework Review

​After mindfulness practice, there will be a homework review.  Some people get stressed out at the thought of homework because it brings up negative associations with school. Don’t worry DBT homework is not academic; it’s helpful and simple. Simple doesn’t mean easy, though, as trying out new behaviors will require some willingness to stretch yourself beyond what you’ve done in the past.  At the end of each class, you will be assigned a worksheet to complete that week. The worksheet will guide you step-by-step in practicing the skill you learned that week.  If for some reason you don’t complete the homework in one week, you won’t get a bad grade. We’ll troubleshoot what got in the way so you’ll be more likely to do the homework the following week.

Why there’s Homework​

Have you had the experience of having great insights in individual or group therapy, but later realized those insights didn’t change anything in your life? This can be frustrating.  The homework helps you do things differently, so you can see tangible (even if it’s sometimes small) changes from week to week.

Learning a New Skill​

The last portion of the group is dedicated to learning a new skill.  The skills in DBT are broken down into the following 4 modules:

  • Mindfulness

  • Distress Tolerance

  • Emotional Regulation

  • Interpersonal Effectiveness


Let’s look at each module a little more in-depth


Mindfulness is a particular way of paying attention. When you’re mindful, you’re paying attention (on purpose) to the present moment. However, mindfulness is not meditation.  Mindfulness in DBT is not sitting on a cushion silently, far removed from your life (although this can be very helpful and is one way to practice). Mindfulness in DBT is about paying attention to the moment you’re actually in as you go about your life.  Mindfulness is the antidote to mindless, habitual ways of thinking and acting that can get you into trouble.

Have you ever just found yourself doing something you swore you wouldn’t do, like eating something you said you wouldn’t?  Or arguing with someone when you swore to try to get along?  Mindfulness helps address and change these often unconscious habits that get us into trouble.  Mindfulness also helps with emotional suffering, worry, and depression. It keeps you in the moment you’re in right now versus in the past (where regret, shame, and grief can live) or the future (where worry and fear live).

Distress Tolerance:

The skills in the distress tolerance module teach you how to survive difficult feelings without making things worse.   Sometimes you can’t immediately change a hard situation and you need a new way to effectively ride out feelings until they pass.  For example, if you have the urge to yell at someone – which might lead to a big fight – you’ll learn how to tolerate the angry feelings without lashing out at someone.

This doesn’t mean that you won’t address what’s upsetting you. Just that you’ll do it when you’re in ‘wise mind’ (another foundational DBT concept), using some of the skills you’ll learn in the interpersonal effectiveness module.

Emotion Regulation:

Have you ever been confused by your emotions or wondered if your emotions were ‘normal’?

DBT’s emotion regulation skills will help you understand what causes emotions and what makes some painful emotions seem to come out of nowhere.  You’ll learn how to decrease painful emotions and increase the presence of more pleasant emotions.  Most importantly, what you learn will help you feel some degree of control when strong emotions come on – rather than feeling that your emotions control you.

Interpersonal Effectiveness:​

Similar to assertiveness training courses, interpersonal effectiveness skills teach you how to approach relationships differently.  Interpersonal effectiveness skills help you learn the nuances of effective communication in a range of relationships, from work relationships to family relationships to romantic relationships.  You’ll learn how to ask for what you want, and how to say no while maintaining relationships and your self-respect.

Common objections to joining a DBT group

I’m not a group person​

You don’t need to be a group person to benefit from a DBT group. You just need to be open to learning new ways of managing your emotions and relationships.

I’ve tried other groups and they haven’t worked​

A DBT group is different from other therapy groups you may have experienced. The group is not free-form; it’s structured.  You will get clear instructions on how to use new skills in your life. The more willing you are to experiment with new behaviors, the more you’ll benefit.  It takes approximately 6-8 weeks to review the modules. We have found that people who commit to learn and use the skills make the most progress.  It is a commitment because change takes time.

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