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  • Honey Dahari, LMFT, MBA

Is a DBT Skills Group For me?

Updated: Jan 3, 2023

If you are considering group therapy, the most important question for you to ask is,"How do I know if group therapy is not for me?" While the answer you receive may differ from therapist to therapist, here are some guidelines that may be helpful.

Easily Triggered to a Strong Degree

One of the rules of a skills group is to save heavy burdens for individual therapy, and to not share those heavy burdens in group. Still, it is impossible to avoid all triggers in any setting, including group. The skills taught and practiced in group should help you learn to manage how a trigger affects you. If you would feel easily triggered by group, and to a degree that you will struggle to function or stay safe, it may be a sign that you would benefit from more individual therapy for one-on-one support with skills before continuing with group therapy.

High Risk

Clients who are at high risk of dangerous behaviors, such as self harm or suicide attempts, may not be ready for some groups. If they are receiving individual therapy on a regular basis, and are not at a high risk of these behaviors, group therapy may be a good option.

Actively Using Substances

Every group program or facilitator has different rules about this one. My rule here is if all the other considerations are addressed, and a client does not come to sessions while under the influence of substances, group therapy may be an option.

Difficulties learning new skills

If you have difficulty learning and implementing new skills, are strongly triggered by new skill learning, and would need additional support, you may benefit from a different approach. This could be group therapy supplemented by additional individual therapy which focuses on skills, a smaller group, or perhaps group therapy should be revisited at a later date.

Bottom line - when in doubt, ask your therapist. Or check out the current group offerings, and schedule a 15 minute consultation to discuss your goals and see if groups can help you.

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