DBT Program

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Assessment Process

There are three stages to assessment at DBT UK. At each stage there is the opportunity to make informed decisions about whether you wish to continue with the DBT programme. It also helps us understand whether this is the right time for you to begin DBT.

Initial Assessment

The initial assessment takes place with Darryl Christie , or an experienced member of the wider team. This stage of the assessment allows us to begin to understand what has been going on for you and will ask you questions about your experiences as well as background information that helps inform our decision about whether we feel this is the best place to be able to offer the support you are looking for. It may also include completing some questionnaires. Following this initial assessment, we meet as a team to think carefully about whether we feel a further assessment is necessary or whether we feel that there may be an alternative service that could provide more specific support. It is designed to explore whether you are suitable for the programme and whether you can relate to some of the therapeutic approaches used within DBT. It is also a chance for you to ask any specific questions you may have about the therapy.

Pre-Commitment Sessions

The pre-commitment sessions can be up to 3 sessions long and ensure that clients are aware of the expectations of DBT, we also explore the biosocial model of emotional dysregulation and provides clients with the opportunity to identify their goals for therapy. The process is set out in this way so that you can experience and understand some of the approaches of DBT and decide whether you wish to continue with the DBT programme here at DBT UK

Aim and Nature of DBT

Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) is a treatment approach for people whose emotions create significant problems in their lives (and perhaps in the lives of people around them). These emotions may come out in destructive ways such as angry outbursts or attempt to be avoided by behaviours such as suicide attempts, substance misuse, difficulties with eating, self-harmful behaviour.

In DBT you will learn different ways to manage your emotions, deal with stressful life situations and improve relationships with those around you. These skills will be taught in a caring but challenging environment, the therapeutic approaches include the use of humour, irreverence and can sometimes be confronting, however we also believe strongly in empathy and support , to help you create a “life worth living”. DBT has been shown in clinical research to be one of the most effective therapies for individuals with significant emotional regulation difficulties and the innovative programme at DBT UK has been shown to have incredible results for those who complete the programme (reviews are on site).

Key Problem Areas DBT helps to Target

  • Decrease suicidal and self-harmful behaviours
  • Decrease therapy interfering behaviours (this includes lateness, non-attendance, and not completing homework set)
  • Decrease quality of life interfering behaviours (this might include impulsivity, substance misuse)
  • Increase skills and strategies to manage emotions
  • Increase self-respect and achieve individual goals

Format of the Skills Group

DBT Skills group sessions will occur once per week for 1.5 hours for up to a year. These sessions will always be at the same time each week and this will depend on which group you are accessing. There are a range of groups to choose from with times to suit as many people as possible.
You will be allocated to a group which takes into careful consideration both the type of support and facilitator that we feel would be most helpful to you.

Individual sessions are offered alongside the DBT programme where indicated. The programme is very intensive and requires your full commitment.

The DBT programme is a “rolling” programme, meaning new people may enter the group at the end of each module.

Format of the 1:1 element if appropriate

This is arranged with your individual therapist at a time that suits.

Phone Coaching

You will be provided with a telephone number for 7 day a week crisis support if you access our full package. You will be given individualized plans around crisis support.
Please be aware that DBT UK is not a crisis support service but offers skills that eventually make you more able to support yourself in the longer term.

Feedback and Complaints Procedure

Within the programme we welcome feedback from our clients to support us to improve our service. Where you would like to make complaints, we would first encourage you to raise this with your DBT therapist. Within this we will support you to use the techniques and skills imparted in the programme to be able to describe the situation. Where people do not yet have these skills, they can request support to use these. A consequence of this is that the response time is increased. The purpose of this process is to use all circumstances to be able to enhance skilful means of managing difficult and challenging situations where they arise. Should you want to take your complaint further there are other mechanisms available.

During your pre-commitment sessions at DBT UK the following expectations will be explained to you, if you decide to continue with the DBT programme this will be taken as an understanding that you have agreed to commit to these expectations.

Not meeting these expectations are what we call Therapy Interfering Behaviours.


Regular and consistent attendance is central to the effectiveness of the DBT skills programme.


Clients are expected to complete their homework set within the session each week. Should a pattern of non-engagement and not completing the homework occur, members will again be encouraged to problem solve this whilst in the group.
If the pattern of non-engagement and not completing the homework continues clients will lose their place on the programme.


Attendance at the group on time is expected each week.
If you are late to the session and arrive within the first 10 minutes, you will be asked to wait until a suitable time for you to enter the group so this is not disruptive to other members.