- The leader keeps an eye on the group as a whole; the co-leader focuses on individuals.
- It is ideal for the group leader and individual therapist to be different people.
- The purpose of the group is to teach the skills, not to process. Group members should not explicitly discuss target behaviors.
- It is permissible to conduct group with only one member.
- Group is lighthearted, fast-paced and structured. Do not try to increase emotions in group members.
How to run DBT group. Linehan’s first edition skills manual is helpful to use in addition to her second edition. The first edition is much less cumbersome and gives a very simplistic yet consistent with the second edition version of how to run group. It is possible to teach the skills that are taught in DBT skills group on an individual one-on-one basis. And in fact, that may be what is necessary in order to prepare some patients to enter group. As has been mentioned previously, a patient’s ability to control open hostility toward others is extremely important. And so therefore, some patients may need one-on-one skills coaching in order to prevent problematic interactions with other group members if they were to enter into a multi-member group.
The leader of DBT skills group can also be an individual therapist. In other words, there may be group members that are also individual patients of the group leader or the co-leader. That being said, it is ideal if the group leader can be a different person (here it says personal on the transcript) than the individual therapist because we want to try to have multiple perspectives, multiple eyes on the patient. But it is definitely permissible to have the leader or the co-leader be the individual therapist of the patient. In the case that you are doing individual skills training or one-on-one skills training, you are teaching the things from group to just one person, it’s important to divide up the time of individual therapy versus group skills training. It doesn’t need to be blended in to an individual therapy session. These need to be two separate entities. One way of doing that is to conduct individual therapy, take a break, come back and do individual skills training. It’s often helpful to switch rooms entirely in order to differentiate between individual therapy versus skills training.