All skills class members must be in ongoing individual therapy.  If you are not already in individual therapy you will need to find a therapist.  If you are interested in finding an individual DBT therapist, there are some possibilities listed on our                   page.  You can also talk to Bob about this.

What is DBT?

DBT stands for Dialectical Behavior Therapy.  It is a behavioral health treatment originally designed for chronically suicidal people who suffer from a condition called Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).  BPD is a disorder characterized by troubles with strong, sometimes erratic emotion.  Often accompanying that is difficulty with others - family, friends, co-workers, etc.  DBT is a cognitive (focus on thoughts) and behavioral (focus on actions) type of counseling that is useful to people who have problems with relationships, impulsive behaviors, mood swings and irritability, stress, and controlling their attention.  Most people who are in DBT attend both individual therapy and skills class.

What is DBT Skills Training?

When does class meet?

Maple Leaf DBT offers two skills classes. Both meet on Wednesdays. One meets from 11:30 until 2:00 p.m. and the other from 4:00 p.m. until 6:30 p.m.

How many classes do I attend?

Everyone in skills class commits for 50 weeks, or about one year.  The year breaks down roughly into six modules, each about two months long.  During the first two weeks of each module, we'll talk about core mindfulness skills.  The remaining weeks are devoted to learning either distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, or emotion regulation skills.  It takes 25 weeks to work through the curriculum.  Then the whole thing repeats again, so each member will be exposed to the entire program twice.  The reason for the second exposure to the skills is that repetition helps us learn, and our students frequently tell us that they get more out of training the second time around.

How big is the class?

At Maple Leaf DBT, our class has room for eight members plus two leaders, for a total of ten.

Who can join?

Our class is open to all people 18 years of age and older who are interested in learning and practicing with us.

Can I keep my current therapist while doing skills training?

Yes!  Unlike other DBT providers in Seattle, we do not require you to change therapists or do individual DBT counseling.  There is no research that says this is necessary, and some that shows that skills training without individual DBT counseling is very effective.  

Can I continue in skills class beyond one year?

For most people, one year of skills training goes by pretty quickly (it's hard to imagine, but it really does).  Some people want to continue coming either to fine-tune their understanding of skills, or to have the structure of class to help them practice.  Members who graduate from our skills training class can return at any time, space permitting, and are only required to commit to one 25-week cycle.

What is required for me to participate?

Do I have to be diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder to participate?

While DBT has been shown to be effective for chronically suicidal women with BPD, there is no reason to think that it won't be effective for other people as well.  DBT has been tested on women with eating disorders and on both men and women with opiate addiction.  DBT has been researched on people prone to irritability, and is being taught to teens and their families.  So as you consider skills class, ask yourself if you're having trouble maintaining relationships, or feeling like the roller-coaster of emotions is getting the better of you, or having difficulty surviving life's inevitable bumps, or feeling like a stranger to yourself.  Regardless of what your diagnosis may be, the main questions to ask are: do I have deficits in the areas that skills training addresses?  Am I interested in learning new skills, and am I willing to commit myself to practice over the next year of my life?

What is a diary card?

Most of the time when people come to skills class they have a self-critical habit of mind. The diary card is one way to counteract that self-judgment, as it allows class members to just notice and describe what they do that is skillful.

The card also serves as a way for your individual therapist and us to track your skills use over the week without you having to spend time remembering it.

Where is Maple Leaf DBT?

For our address and location, please 

How much does DBT skills training cost?

We are happy to accept credit or debit card as payment, and we add a $25 processing charge per module to tuition paid this way.  Under some circumstances we may make other payment arrangements - if there is some question here, please call us.

How do I join?

We start with an orientation to talk about in detail about your goals and what we do.  The idea is to make sure there is a good fit, because a year is a long time.  We would never want to recommend the class if someone's needs could be met a better way.  If it is a good fit and you want to join, we will complete some paperwork and collect a $200 non-refundable deposit.  The deposit gets you on our waitlist and gives you dibs on the next opening. Priority on the waitlist is on a first come - first served basis.  The deposit is applied to the first module's tuition when you start class.  You can specify if you want the early class, the late class, or simply the next slot available. 

What if I have more questions?

Please give us a call or send an email.  We are happy to speak with you.

A diary card is a half-sheet of paper that helps class members track their skills practice over the week.  All members bring diary cards to skills training sessions and we look at them during homework review.  The purpose of this card is to help you highlight your good effort and recognize when you are being skillful.

DBT Skills Training runs very much like a college class.  Most class members pay tuition at the beginning of each module, or roughly every two months.  Below is a chart to illustrate how it generally works.

DBT skills training is a class where various skills for living are taught. At Maple Leaf, students meet each week for two and a half hours to learn interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and mindfulness.  The first half of class is for skills practice review.  The second half is lecture and discussion about new skills material.

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