Group Therapy

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Skills for Living Effectively

Skills training is an essential part of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). This treatment was developed by Marsha Linehan, Ph.D. as a treatment for borderline personality disorder. It has been demonstrated to be effective for this as well as other related disorders. Treatment outcome research has shown that subjects participating in DBT skill-oriented group therapy, in combination with DBT individual psychotherapy, evidenced improved mood stability, behavioral stability, and psychosocial functioning.

Persons who experience unstable and extreme emotions, impulsiveness, confusion about their identity and have unstable relationships with others will benefit from this group.

What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

Originated by Marsha Linehan, Ph.D., of the University of Washington, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is the only research-based treatment protocol for individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder.

Grounded in bio-social developmental theory, the DBT approach is based upon the premise that emotional dysregulation is the core dysfunction for Borderline Personality Disorder. DBT applies an array of cognitive and behavioral therapy strategies to problems most commonly experienced by individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder, especially those related to motivation and interpersonal interactions.

Why a Group Approach?

Designed to support and supplement the work of individual psychotherapy, focus of the Dialectical Behavior Therapy group is upon:

Increasing interpersonal effectiveness
Decreasing crisis inpatient admissions
Teaching skills for managing distress and impulsiveness

Treatment Goals

Group is divided into four areas:

Emotion Regulation Skills: Clients often experience difficulties with anger expression, anxiety, and inappropriate inhibition of affect or being emotionally “shut down.” Skills taught in this module include accurate recognition of emotions and effective and appropriate ways of expressing emotions.

Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills: Because individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder and related conditions often experience relationships that are chaotic, intense, and marked with difficulties, this module teaches skills for maintaining balanced interpersonal relationships.

Distress Tolerance Skills: Impulsive behavior, including self-injury and suicidal acts are viewed by many traditional therapies as manipulative. DBT approaches impulsiveness as a sign of the individual’s difficulty in tolerating stress.

Mindfulness Skills: Feelings of emptiness, no sense of self and dissociation caused by stressful situations are problems that clients frequently encounter. “Mindfulness” skills – skills targeted toward increasing reliance upon accurate perceptions, are learned in this module.

What this Group is Not

The Dialectical Behavior Therapy group treatment approach is not a substitute for individual psychotherapy. Rather, its highly structured, skill-focused process has shown to be effective for clients who are currently involved in individual treatment. 

Combining DBT group therapy with ongoing individual psychotherapy has shown to be effective in decreasing episodes of self-mutilation, suicide gestures and attempts, need for hospitalization, and other common outpatient treatment crises.

Who May Participate

Designed to serve as an adjunct to individual psychotherapy, participation in this group is contingent upon simultaneous involvement in individual psychotherapy. Referral from the client’s primary mental health care provider or inpatient treatment program is required. Persons interested in beginning this group may contact Psychotherapy Associates to arrange a screening interview to see if this treatment is indicated.

Group Facilitators

LauraLee Clinchard, MA Laurie Patton, MA Mark Hankla, MA


Trained in DBT, LauraLee, Laurie and Mark each have extensive experience in providing treatment to individuals with complex personality and post-trauma disorders.


This time-limited group meets weekly for 90 minute sessions and repeats biannually. Held in the Psychotherapy Associates offices, group meeting time will be discussed at the screening interview. Fees for group are $50 per session. This treatment protocol has been covered by most health insurance and other third party payment plans.

Referral, in writing or by telephone, should be directed to the attention of Bill Bonacker at 402-475-5069, fax 402-475-2350, or e-mail who have been referred are asked to contact the Psychotherapy Associates office to schedule an individual screening and assessment interview prior to acceptance into the group.