Jacqueline Anderson, LPC

This is a 16 week program / commitment, with new entry points every few weeks.
Middle School (7th & 8th grade): Wednesdays from 3:30-4:45 pm
High School (9th-12th grade): Wednesdays from 4:45-6:00 pm

* a 55-minute intake session must be scheduled prior to joining.
* regular counseling with an individual therapist familiar with DBT is a requirement for participating.
*2-3 parent workshops are offered as an additional cost

Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotion Regulation, Interpersonal Effectiveness

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

What is DBT?

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based treatment that helps individuals live more in the moment, better manage intense emotions, reduce impulsive behavior, and improve their relationships. In this group, we go over coping skills and strategies based in the modules of DBT: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, and walking the middle path. Creative techniques are used to explore and reinforce DBT concepts in a way that is accessible and beneficial for adolescents of all artistic skill levels.

What does it mean that the group is DBT-informed?

This group is not part of a standard DBT program (true DBT programs provide a team approach that involves phone coaching, individual therapy, a skills group, and team consultation), though it is required for our members to be in individual therapy to participate in this group. We will occasionally draw from other approaches such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and there is, of course, a large creative arts component to this group as well. However, we will go through the four modules of Marsha Linehan’s DBT Skills Group Curriculum (mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, interpersonal skills) and we will cover key DBT skills within those modules each week.

What is the purpose of creative arts in this group?

The creative arts component to this group serves a few purposes. First, it helps participants feel more engaged in the group because they have something to do and aren’t just listening to the teaching. Second, the activities directly reinforce the skills being taught and help participants retain the concepts better. Finally, the process of making art itself is therapeutic, reducing stress and bringing about new personal insights. No artistic experience is necessary to participate!

What does a typical session look like?

Each session starts with a brief opening exercise, often related to the topic we’re about to cover. Then, we go through the DBT skill for the day. After that, we’ll move into a creative arts activity, which is connected to the skill. For example, when I teach about mind states (emotional mind, rational mind, wise mind), participants may paint and decorate a face mask depicting what “wise mind” means to them. (The reasonable mind is driven by logic, the emotional mind is driven by feelings, and wise mind is a middle-ground between the two.)

Who might benefit from this group?

Participants are often struggling with some level of anxiety and/or depression. This group is ideal for anyone who has difficulty managing intense or extreme emotions, makes impulsive decisions or reacts impulsively, engages in self-harm or self-destructive behaviors, or struggles with conflict at home or at school. Ultimately, this group will benefit anyone who wants to improve how they’re dealing with life and gain new coping skills! It is important to note that anyone struggling with self-harm or suicidal thoughts must be actively committed to safety in order to join this group.

What if I’m nervous about joining?

Joining a group can be intimidating because you won’t know completely what to expect or who will be in the group with you until the first day. It’s common to look for reasons not to join – because it’s uncomfortable to do new things! At the same time, great personal growth can come from moving out of your comfort zone in this way and giving it a try. What you can count on is that the group will be filled with other adolescents who are in the same place as you, open to trying something new and learning valuable coping skills. Confidentiality is also very important in this group. We all commit to keeping everyone’s identities and any information shared confidential. Finally, there is no pressure to share out loud. While sharing is a part of this group, the focus will be on learning new skills through expressive arts and on self-reflection.

How long does the group run and when can newcomers join?

This is an ongoing group and we accept new members at the beginning of each round. Participants will get the greatest benefit if they are able to complete all four modules. A commitment to being on time and attending every group is critical for the entire group to successfully master the material together.

Why do I need to be in individual therapy to participate?

This is primarily a skills group. There is sharing in the group, but it is limited. The focus is more on practicing skills vs. dealing with a crisis going on that week. Research shows that DBT is the most effective when there is dedicated time to learning the skills (i.e. this group) in conjunction with individual therapy to provide more personal support and reinforcement. It is important to note that the teen’s individual counselor is still the primary contact for any crises or emergencies. I will ask for a release to be signed so that the counselor and I can work together if needed.

How does payment work?

Payment is made in full before the group begins. A nonrefundable deposit is required to hold your spot and participants will be billed for the remaining amount one week in advance of the start date. Please note that refunds will not be given for any sessions that the individual cannot attend.

How can I join?

If we are not already working together through individual therapy, we will schedule a 55-minute intake session that will include me, the teen, and at least one parent/guardian. We will pick a start date based on when the next module begins!

Parent Workshops

During each module, I offer 1-2 opportunities for parents to come together and learn DBT skills, discuss themes coming out of the group, talk about how to reinforce the skills at home, and support each other in parenting. Please let me know if you are interested in more information about these workshops.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me (Jacqueline Anderson) at 571-429-4848 or jacqueline@sunstonecounselors.com.

*Please do not use this form for emergency communication. If you are experiencing an emergency or mental health crisis, please call 911.