DBT Skills Treatment Groups


Group settings provide clients with an added level of interpersonal support, allowing individuals to create new connections, practice interpersonal skills and develop comfort in a social context. Group leaders provide a powerful environment of compassion and empathy for each individual. This also allows for interactions that challenge participants to let go of self-defeating beliefs and behaviours, replacing negative emotions with more positive ones, and ultimately achieving personal life goals.

Clients considering participation in the DBT skills treatment group are asked to attend several individual sessions prior to joining the group in order to orient them to the treatment and ensure informed consent. The DBT Skills Treatment Group is not for everyone, as participation requires a certain level of commitment. First and foremost, participants must be committed to working on personal goals, and willing to discuss their efforts, successes, and failures in a group setting.

How is the group structured?

Sessions are held weekly. Each session is 2-hours. Sessions may be cancelled during holidays/vacation time etc., when agreed upon ahead of time. The group is structured into 4 modules: Mindfulness, Emotion Regulation, Interpersonal Effectiveness and Distress Tolerance. The completion of Module 4 is followed by returning to Module 1, and runs continuously. The group is an ‘open group’, which means that once a PEACE client is individually oriented and committed, the person may join the group at the beginning of the upcoming module (i.e. they do not need to start at “Module 1”).

Each module takes roughly 4-6 sessions to get through. Facilitators commit to getting through the material in a total of 20 weeks, allowing clients to plan accordingly. Clients are encouraged to participate in the group until they have developed a good grasp of the skills and have integrated them into their lives. Research suggests that attending each module at least twice allows for the best results. This structure also creates a group that includes members that are both new and more experienced with the material.

How many people are  in a group?

Groups typically consist of 8-10 clients and two facilitators.

How is each session structured?

The first hour of the group is spent checking in with clients about how the homework went and reviewing last week’s material. The second half of the group focuses on teaching new material and assigning homework. Facilitators utilize the clinical approach of experiential learning by utilizing ‘what’s in the room in the moment’ as opportunities for replacing maladaptive behaviour with more skillful behaviour. This is carefully balanced with getting through the content of each module.

What groups are currently running?

Currently we’re running two Adult’s Group (Tuesdays and Wednesdays) and a Youth Group (Thursdays).  The groups run on an ongoing basis, with new members able to join at the beginning of each module.

How do I join a PEACE DBT Skills Treatment Group?

An initial individual session is set up to learn about the client’s goals, determine their target behaviours, and to orient the client to DBT and the group format. Sometimes several individual sessions are required before the client is ready to join. Once oriented and committed to attending all four modules (i.e. 20 group sessions and 4 individual sessions), the client can join the group at the beginning of the upcoming module (i.e. they do not need to start at “Module 1”). Each module takes between 4-6 weeks.

Do I need additional therapy while I’m in the group?

PEACE understands that clients’ therapy needs are diverse, so we create an individualized treatment plan based on those needs. PEACE  requires that clients have an assigned individual therapist with PEACE Psychotherapy, and have, at the very minimum, one individual therapy session per group module. These required sessions are included in the group price.

A client may choose to attend more individual sessions than just one per module. For example, many clients prefer to attend weekly or biweekly individual sessions. As clients become more skillful, they may ween down on the frequency of these sessions.

A client would be required to attend an individual session if the group facilitators deemed a client’s behaviour was disruptive (as per the ‘Disruptive Behaviour Agreement’*)  during a group session. This session with their PEACE Therapist would serve for supportive processing, recommitting, and preparing to return and repair with the group.

Here are common therapy options that clients utilize while in group:

  • Clients do weekly individual and/or family therapy sessions while attending the group.
  • On top of the individual sessions that are included in the group, clients book additional individual and/or family therapy sessions on an as-needed basis.

*What is the ‘Disruptive Behaviour Agreement’?

DBT believes that it is essential to focus therapeutic interventions on replacing unskillful behaviours with more skillful ones in order to achieve our goals and make the most out of our lives. In order to do this, it is essential to tolerate the negative emotions that drive the problem behaviours, rather than act in an unskillful manner in order to avoid experiencing them. All group members are encouraged to participate to a level with which they are comfortable, and to be willing to stretch their limits in order to create real change in their lives, while also setting limits effectively before acting unskillfully.

When group members exhibit behaviours that are disruptive to the therapeutic process of the group, the therapist and/or group members will respectfully observe and describe these behaviours, and they will have an opportunity to correct the behaviours and practice skills. Your therapist will make every effort to support you to remain in the group, but if the interfering behaviours continue, you will be asked to leave for the remainder of the session. You will be expected to attend a minimum of one individual session to explore solutions in order to return to the group. If you are asked to leave a second time, you may be suspended pending a team meeting. The team meeting may involve further problem solving or a decision to discharge you with referrals.

How does registration, payment and attendance work?

Clients must be committed to attending all four modules (i.e. 20 group sessions). Group participants are required to pay in advance. Clients are not refunded for missed sessions except for under exceptional circumstances. In such cases, the client may submit an ‘Excused Absence Claim Form’. For things like emergencies or physical illnesses, this form must be submitted within 3 business days of the missed group session.  For things like planned vacations, clients must submit the form at least 2 weeks before the planned absence. Your request will be reviewed by your therapist, group facilitators, and/or the clinical team at PEACE, and you will be notified of our decision within 1-week of your request.  We may follow up with you to discuss the situation before getting back to you with our final decision.

If a client is not engaged in regular individual therapy a commitment of at least one individual therapy session per module is required

There are 2 payment options:

Option 1: Clients may pay $2300 + applicable taxes/ 4 modules (20 sessions – 40 hours) to cover 20 group sessions.

Option 2: Clients may pay $575.00 + applicable taxes / ( installments every 5 weeks (5 sessions – 10 hours)

Price breakdown:

Each group session price $115.00 + applicable taxes per session.

one module = 5 group sessions $575.00 + applicable taxes 

four modules = 20 group sessions $2300.00 + applicable taxes 

What if I need itemized receipts for my insurance?

PEACE Psychotherapy provides itemized receipts for each session.