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An Introduction to Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Skills

What is Dialectical Behaviour Therapy?

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is now a leading evidence-based treatment. In essence it brings together a series of powerful behavioural techniques for therapists and skills for clients in the areas of distress tolerance, emotion regulation, mindfulness and interpersonal effectiveness. This therapeutic approach was designed to address problems in chronically suicidal patients or those with difficulties regulating overwhelming emotions, impulsive and risky behaviours, such as self-harm. It has been used to treat conditions such as borderline personality disorder, also known as emotionally unstable personality disorder, eating disorders, trauma and substance abuse.

Who is this training for?

This training is suitable for all Psychologists, Psychiatrists and Psychotherapists who work directly with patients including children and adolescents who are either treatment resistant, highly emotionally dysregulated, suicidal, para-suicidal or are presenting with features commonly associated with addictions, sexual or emotional abuse, poor impulse control, depression, anxiety and eating disorders. Furthermore, it addresses the therapeutic needs of those who meet criteria for Axis II Personality disorders, Post Traumatic Stress Disorders and sex offenders.

It is suitable for community-based practitioners and can also be adapted for inpatient settings. The training will also be beneficial for therapists wanting to build on existing knowledge and improve their therapeutic interventions with complex and/or co-morbid presentations.

Aims and Objectives

The aim of these sessions is to enable the attendees to gain a greater understanding of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy. At the end of the training the participants will have the confidence to be able to use their newly acquired knowledge, skills and techniques to help patients regulate their emotions, tolerate distress and manage interpersonal situations more effectively. The course will present both the conceptualisation and theoretical underpinnings of all the cohorts as well as showing how to adapt other psychological approaches to this milieu. For example, mindfulness and other compassion-based approaches. A more detailed curriculum is presented below.

In essence the participants will have many of the skills necessary to use elements of this approach. There will also be the possibility of on-going supervision for those interested. The training aims to engage the participants through a variety of mediums including role-play, participation, experiential learning as well as academic reasoning, lecture and discussion. The idea is to mirror the approach used with patients so attendees can get a feel for the therapy.
Finally, we will furnish the participants with all the necessary psycho-educational information for themselves and their clients as well as strengthening their practice around establishing their own limits and signposting people to other pathways when appropriate.

Course outline

Day One

Theoretical perspectives on Dialectical Behaviour Therapy – Conceptualising distress, a biosocial perspective, understanding invalidation, the history of complex emotional dysregulation presentations in psychological settings, and strategies for explaining dysregulation in a collaborative way.

Mindfulness – a 21st century approach! The rationale for applying Mindfulness techniques, analysing the data, understanding its uses and contra-indications, and conceptualisation for the patient.

Day Two

Distress Tolerance – an experiential guide – Presenting well researched and practical techniques alongside the neurological explanations that support this approach, dealing with in-session distress, and a discussion on how to re-shape the amygdala (threat system).
Interpersonal Effectiveness- Relationships-understanding and problem solving for highly sensitive people.

Day Three

Emotion Regulation – Why regulate emotion? The application of Evolutionary Psychology and its role for long-term and sustainable recovery. Analysing problematic behaviours and problem solving, how to get patients back on track.

Trainee presentations

Question and Answer session

Facilitators/Lecturers

Darryl Christie

Darryl Christie is an accredited Dialectical Behaviour Therapist (one of the first in the UK) and a subject matter expert (www.sfdbt.co.uk). He was intensively trained by the Linehan Institute in the USA and received expert supervision from both Heidi Heard and Melanie Harned who are both leading world-renowned Clinicians in this field. He was the Research Psychotherapist used in one of the biggest European studies.

He has a thriving private practice in London and is also an experienced trainer, supervisor and Psychotherapist. Darryl has delivered DBT training in the UK, Romania and Poland. He currently supervises the Psychotherapists and Psychologists in both the adult and children’s DBT teams for the Priory Hospitals in and around London. He also provides supervision for the UKs leading Private Addictions service and two NHS Trusts. He is also the Head of Suicide Prevention at Body and Soul, a leading multi-award-winning UK Charity.

Darryl has extensively trained NHS mental health staff including Doctors, Nurses, and Occupational Therapists in topics ranging from understanding Personality Disorders, DBT, Mental Health awareness, Assessing Risk and Mindfulness.

In the past Darryl worked for over 17 years in both the NHS and Social services, much of this time in a Specialist Personality Disorder Service where he was able to undertake complex assessments under the Mental Health Act.

Darryl’s special interests include Suicidal and self-harming behaviours in adults and children, treating Anxiety and Depression, Eating Problems, Addictions and Complex PTSD as well as the relationship difficulties that often ensue as a result of the above.