Orientation and Individual Therapy

Participation in the DBT Center’s program begins with a brief orientation period of 2 to 4 individual sessions with Ned Butler, MFT, to complete a thorough assessment of your difficulties and strengths and to discuss specific goals for therapy. 

The Skills Groups are open to new participants every four weeks. Once you start your Skills Group your individual therapy sessions will shift from the assessment and orientation phase to focusing on putting DBT skills into practice in your daily life. You will be expected to bring a diary card to each individual session which you will use to track the ups and downs of the target behaviors you are working on: decreasing destructive habits for managing distress and increasing skillful responses. Reviewing your diary card with your individual therapist is an opportunity to explore successes and challenges and strategize how to maintain gradual, incremental progress. Tracking your success helps develop a sense of mastery and self-confidence.

The first few months of treatment will focus on eliminating your most problematic behaviors such as suicidal thinking, self-harm, substance abuse, an/or any other behaviors that interfere with you fully participating in therapy.  As you progress, your individual therapy will continue to support your skills development while opening up the therapeutic focus to include a broader range of issues to create a life worth living. 

Difficult emotions and thoughts are bound to come up as you put aside old ways of reacting to distress and learn new, more skillful ways of being in your life. Your individual sessions will help you deepen your experience and understanding of this process. Individual sessions also provide space for you to process emotions that are triggered by the group process. Your group therapist will help you identify things that come up in your skills group that would be productive for you to explore in your next individual session.

Individual sessions last 50-minutes, much like other forms of therapy.  Treatment with the DBT Center requires a one year commitment of individual therapy plus 48 Skills Group sessions. It takes a year to fully take in and put into practice this new way of living. After completing the year, clients are expected to test their new skills therapist-free for at least six months.  After six months of independence, most clients decide not to return to therapy but you can if you wish.    

For information on fees for individual therapy please see How much does it cost? under FAQ .