Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Programme

DBT skills manual

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DBT is a comprehensive programme which was developed for intensely-feeling individuals who experience difficulties in regulating their emotions, including people whose challenges get described as “borderline personality disorder” in the medical world. The full programme entails weekly one-to-one therapy, skills group and access to skills coaching on the phone.

DBT can assist you in coping effectively with extreme sensitivity, impulsivity, “roller coaster” emotions, self-harm, ADHD, eating difficulties, anger, depression, anxiety, shame, intense relationships, and ultimately in building a fruitful, satisfying life. If unmanageable distress and disproportionate reactions to events interfere with the quality of your life, for example in the context of relationships, DBT might be helpful.

Where and When?


KING’S CROSS, CENTRAL LONDON: We hold DBT skills classes at Barnsbury Community Centre, 12 Jays Street, London, N1 0FE on Saturdays: from 10am to 12pm and from 12:15pm to 1:45pm. People who are on the full programme are given priority to join the Saturday 10am class. Nearest stations are Kings Cross, Caledonian Road or Caledonian Road & Barnsbury. Please note that sessions will not be held on Saturdays that fall on or close to Bank Holidays, i.e. 8th and 29th April 2023, 6th and 27th May 2023, 26th August 2023, 23rd and 30th December 2023. 

  • The next entry point to the Saturday classes is on 10th June 2023 when we begin the 8-week module in Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills. The fee is £680 for the 10am class (£85 x 8 sessions) and £600 for the 12:15pm class (£75 x 8 sessions). This class will be followed by modules in Emotion Regulation (5th August 2023), Core Mindfulness & Middle Path (4th November 2023) and Distress Tolerance (16th December 2023).

ANGEL, ISLINGTON: DBT skills classes are run in Angel on Wednesdays from 6pm to 8pm or Thursdays from 5:30pm to 7:30pm at Brighter Spaces, 2A Prebend Street, Islington, London, N1 8PT. People who are on the comprehensive DBT programme are given priority to join these groups.

  • The next entry point to the Wednesday 6pm group is on 26th April 2023 when the 12-week module in Emotion Regulation Skills is scheduled to begin and the fee is £1,020 (£85 x 12 sessions). It will be followed by classes in Interpersonal Effectiveness (19th July 2023), Core Mindfulness & Middle Path (13th September 2023) and Distress Tolerance (25th October 2023).
  • The next entry point to the Thursday 5:30pm group is on 30th March 2023 when the 8-week class in Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills is scheduled to begin. The fee for this class is £680 (£85 x 8 sessions). It will be followed by modules in Core Mindfulness and Middle Path (25th May 2023), Distress Tolerance (6th July 2023) and Emotion Regulation (31st August 2023).

ONLINE VIA ZOOM: Currently all of our weekday skills classes can be attended online via Zoom until further notice. The Monday 5:45pm-7:15pm, Tuesday 4pm-5:30pm or 6pm-7:30pm and Wednesday 3:30pm-5:30pm groups are offered permanently online.

  • The next entry point to the Monday 5:45pm group is on 3rd April 2023 when the 8-week class in Distress Tolerance Skills is scheduled to begin. The fee is £600 (£75 x 8 sessions). It will be followed by modules in Emotion Regulation (26th June 2023), Interpersonal Effectiveness (25th September 2023) and Core Mindfulness & Middle Path (20th November 2023). Sessions are not held on Bank Holiday Mondays, i.e. 10th April, 1st, 8th and 29th May, 28th August and 25th December 2023. 
  • The next entry points to the Tuesday 4pm and 6pm groups are on 2nd May 2023 when the 6-week module in Core Mindfulness & Middle Path Skills is scheduled to begin and the fee is £450 (£75 x 6 sessions). It will be followed by classes Distress Tolerance (13th June 2023), Emotion Regulation (8th August 2023) and Interpersonal Effectiveness (31st October 2023).
  • The next entry point to the Wednesday 3:30pm group is on 26th April 2023 when the 12-week module in Emotion Regulation Skills is scheduled to begin and the fee is £1,020 (£85 x 12 sessions). It will be followed by classes in Interpersonal Effectiveness (19th July 2023), Core Mindfulness & Middle Path (13th September 2023) and Distress Tolerance (25th October 2023).
  • The next 10-week Advanced Relationship Skills in Action module will begin on 31st May 2023 and be held weekly on Wednesdays from 6pm to 7:30pm via Zoom. The fee is £75 per session (£750).

What is Dialectical Behaviour Therapy?

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is one of the most researched treatments for people with difficulties in regulating their emotions. DBT is a team-based programme which entails weekly individual therapy, skills class, access to phone skills coaching available seven days a week and DBT team consultation*. Clients who are unable to commit to the twice weekly programme can attend the skills classes alone without ongoing one-to-one sessions subject to the outcome of assessment or a referral letter. DBT was originally developed in the late 1980s by Dr Marsha Linehan for self-harming individuals who met criteria for borderline personality disorder (BPD), also known as emotion regulation disorder or emotionally unstable personality (EUPD). Since then it was also proven effective for ADHD, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress and depression.

*Individual therapists and group facilitators meet on a weekly basis and work as a DBT consultation team to ensure that they are all applying DBT appropriately and to assist you in getting the maximum benefit from the programme.

What will I learn?

There are four core DBT modules which are attended as part of the full DBT programme. It takes 34 weeks to complete them all once. If your goals revolve particularly around enhancing relationships you can also attend the advanced 10-week module called ‘Relationship Skills in Action’. Subject to individual circumstances and the review offered by our team it might be indicated to repeat the modules and/or extend your place on the programme to solidify your use of skills.

  • 6-week Core Mindfulness and Middle Path module is designed to teach you how to increase your awareness levels, decrease reactivity and judgmentalness, focus better, train your attention, accept current moment experiences and be more compassionate towards yourself. This module will also teach you how to avoid taking extreme positions and instead acknowledge the validity of different positions and perspectives.
  • 8-week Distress Tolerance module is centred on accepting difficult situations and emotions and finding ways to survive and tolerate the moment without engaging in problematic behaviours such as self-harm, conflict, substance misuse or other impulsive behaviours. You will learn how to respond to stressful and overwhelming emotions by engaging both your body and mind in the process. This module will cover both strategies of change and acceptance.
  • 12-week Emotion Regulation module involves learning to recognise and label current emotions, identify obstacles to changing emotions, reduce emotional vulnerability and reactivity, increase positive emotions and harness a more positive long-term outlook, and change emotions that are unhelpful or unwarranted. This module will also teach you how to gradually decrease avoidance of feelings and become more comfortable experiencing emotions.
  • 8-week Interpersonal Effectiveness module teaches strategies aimed at improving your communication in order to foster healthy relationships. You will learn skills to ask for what you need, say no, set boundaries and cope with interpersonal conflict in a way that influences others whilst enhancing the relationship and your self-respect. This module is of particular relevance to individuals who experience their relationships as chaotic, intense and unstable, and those who feel that their needs are never met in relationships.
  • 10-week Advanced Relationship Skills in Action is a module for people who have attended the Interpersonal Effectiveness DBT module and want to enhance their interpersonal skills further, improve existing relationships and build new ones. In this module you will learn about the theory and practice of dialectical thinking, balancing opposites, how to balance intense desire to influence someone with acceptance of the moment, validation of self and others, recovering from invalidation, building new relationships, communicating emotions to others, getting people to like you, mindfulness of others, reinforcement and strategies for changing behaviour. There will also be two practice sessions to immerse yourself in the application of the skills. You will also be able to bring your own real life scenarios and receive suggestions from the group trainer on how to approach them skilfully.

How will I learn?

DBT classes are designed to be interactive, not where you passively listen to the facilitator. You can expect to be challenged by the didactics, demonstrations and discussions. The aim of this approach is to encourage you to help you maximise your use of the tools that you will be learning. New skills are presented each week and homework tasks are assigned for participants to practice during the week. Homework is reviewed at the next class. To enhance learning and effective application of newly acquired knowledge and skills people who commit to the full DBT programme will have access to phone skills coaching, which can be accessed at times of heightened distress seven days a week. The goal of this is for people to get better at using the skills when they are needed most, such as during times of intense emotion, crisis or conflict.

Who should join the programme?

  • There is no specific diagnostic requirement for participation in the DBT programme.
  • The comprehensive DBT programme was originally developed for people who met the criteria for BPD and proven effective in reducing suicidal behaviour, self-injury, impulsivity, disruptions to personal relationships and improving social functioning.
  • The skills we teach can help anyone, with or without a diagnosis, who experiences challenges with extreme emotional sensitivity and ability to return to a calm emotional baseline, mood swings, anger, recurrent depression, intense or chaotic relationships, feelings of guilt and shame and high stress.
  • DBT is indicated if intense emotions, unmanageable distress and disproportionate reactions to events interfere with the quality of your life, for example, in the context of personal or professional relationships.
  • DBT is also applied as a treatment for some eating and mood difficulties, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress and substance misuse, and is now the go-to treatment for improving emotional regulation skills in those diagnosed with ADHD and ADD.
  • The skills classes can also be suitable for those who are engaging in the stabilisation and safety stage of trauma-focused therapy.
  • The skills classes can be adjunct to outside care or a part of a larger treatment plan.
  • DBT focuses a lot on finding coping methods to stop impulsive behaviour and learning to appropriately respond to stressful events. If changing behaviour isn’t the main thing you want to get out of treatment, DBT might not be right for you.

How to begin?

All individuals interested in joining the full programme will be assessed by a member of our team. To find out more about our team please visit the About Us section of this website and if you have a preference let us know which therapist you wish to be assessed by. Following the assessment you will be offered a few pre-treatment sessions which will introduce you to some fundamental DBT theories, tools and crisis skills (in some circumstances these sessions might be optional). We will also talk you though a roadmap of your treatment going forward, answer your questions and agree on a start date in the skills group. Those who would like to attend the skills classes without committing to individual DBT can provide a letter of recommendation from their psychiatrist, therapist or GP outlining their history and reasons for referral.


Fees for the comprehensive DBT programme (individual therapy, skills class and phone skills coaching) range between £175 and £220 a week. For the breakdown of fees please click here. It is also possible to commit to attending the DBT skills groups alone for which the fee is £85 per 2-hour class and £75 per 90-minute class.

To formally reserve a place in the skills group 50% of the module fee must be paid at the time of booking which is non-refundable. The remaining part of the fee is due a week before the official start date of the module. It is only possible to commit to a full module and the fee is payable for all of the sessions. This includes sessions that are not attended, missed or cancelled for any reason.

Fees and Booking