Maple Leaf DBT is the first and oldest skills training group available to the general public in the Seattle area. We started in late 2000, when Bob Goettle approached Noelle Mestres for the third time and asked her to start a DBT skills training class with him. At the time, outside of Marsha Linehan's Behavior Research and Therapy Clinics (BRTC) at UW and two community mental health centers, there was no other DBT skills training class around Seattle.
Noelle agreed (finally, yay!), so we found an office in the Maple Leaf neighborhood of Seattle and in February of 2001 launched our class. We were pretty green, both of us having only recently completed a one-year training given by our friend and colleague Treg Issacson, himself a research therapist at BRTC, and having taught DBT skills together for only a year at the clinic where we first learned it. Once word got out, enrollment took off, and within about six months we added a second class to accommodate the high demand. We've been running ever since, and we've learned a ton along the way.
In 2004 Bob got hired by Dr. Linehan to run two weekly DBT skills training classes in a research study she was conducting. He worked in her clinic for almost six years. It proved to be an invaluable learning experience for him as a skills class leader, and our students at Maple Leaf were direct beneficiaries of that training. They got exposure to an updated skills manual as well as a new and improved teacher.
In 2010, Noelle decided to step down to pursue a lifelong dream in the performing arts. We were very fortunate to have Terry Jaworski join our team as co-leader. Terry brought with her a life-long mindfulness practice and four years previous experience teaching DBT skills in a clinic in Tukwila. In 2011 we moved to the more centrally located neighborhood of Capitol Hill, but in spring of 2017 we returned to our roots in Maple Leaf.
Over the years we've taught DBT skills to hundreds of people. Some have trekked from as far away as Olympia and central Washington to attend class. Our fabulous, hard-working students inspire us and make the whole thing worth-while. Through their good efforts and practice, they make extraordinary changes in their lives. Their dedication, willingness, and perseverance make class one of the highlights of our week.