Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Programme

DBT skills manual

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DBT is a comprehensive programme for people who experience difficulties in regulating their emotions, including those diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD) or traits. It entails attending weekly individual therapy, skills training class and access to phone skills coaching. If intense emotions, unmanageable distress or problematic behaviours interfere with your ability to be an effective human being, for example in the context of personal or professional relationships, DBT might be just what’s needed. It will assist you in coping effectively with self-harm, extreme emotional sensitivity, mood swings, ADHD, eating difficulties, anger, depression, anxiety, intense relationships, impulsivity, and ultimately in building a fruitful, satisfying life.

Where and When?


KING’S CROSS, CENTRAL LONDON: We hold DBT skills classes at Barnsbury Community Centre, 10 Jays Street, London, N1 0TJ on Saturdays: from 10am to 12pm or from 12:15pm to 1:45pm and on Tuesdays from 1:30pm to 3pm. 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. 16th April 2022, 30th April 2022, 4th June 2022, 27th August 2022, 24th and 31st December 2022 .

  • The next entry point into Saturday classes is on 25th June 2022 when we begin the 8-week module in Distress Tolerance Skills. The fee is £85 per session (£680) for the 10am class and £75 per session (£600) for the 12:15pm class. This class will be followed by modules in Interpersonal Effectiveness (20th August 2022), Emotion Regulation (22nd October 2022) and Core Mindfulness (28th January 2023).
  • The next entry point into the Tuesday 1:30pm group is on 24th May 20022 when the 6-week class in Core Mindfulness and Middle Path Skills is scheduled to begin. The fee for this class is £600 (£75 x 6 sessions). It will be followed by modules in Interpersonal Effectiveness (5th July 2022), Distress Tolerance (30th August 2022) and Emotion Regulation (25th October 2022).

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

  • The next entry point to the Wednesday 6pm group is on 25th May 2022 when the 6-week class in Core Mindfulness and Middle Path Skills is scheduled to begin. The fee for this class is £510 (£85 x 6 sessions). It will be followed by modules in Distress Tolerance (6th July 2022), Emotion Regulation (31st August 2022) and Interpersonal Effectiveness (23rd November 2022).
  • The next entry point to the Thursday 5:30pm group is on 28th July 2022 when the 8-week class in Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills is scheduled to begin. The fee for this class is £600 (£75 x 8 sessions). It will be followed by modules in Core Mindfulness (22nd September 2022), Distress Tolerance (3rd November 2022) and Emotion Regulation (5th January 2023). Sessions will not be held on 2nd June 2022 (Spring Bank Holiday) and 29th December 2022.

ONLINE VIA ZOOM: Currently all of our 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 4pm-5-30pm groups are offered permanently online and will continue to be provided online after the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

  • The next entry point into the Monday 5:45pm group is on 6th June 2022 when the 6-week class in Core Mindfulness and Middle Path Skills is scheduled to begin. The fee is £450 (£75 x 6 sessions). It will be followed by modules in Distress Tolerance (18th July 2022), Emotion Regulation (19th September 2022) and Interpersonal Effectiveness (12th December 2022). Sessions are not held on Bank Holiday Mondays, i.e. 18th April 2022, 2nd May 2022, 29th August 2022 and 26th December 2022.
  • The next entry points to the Tuesday 4pm and 6pm groups are on 5th July 2022 when the 8-week module in Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills is scheduled to begin and the fee is £600 (£75 x 8 sessions). It will be followed by classes in Core Mindfulness Skills (30th August 2022), Distress Tolerance Skills (11th October 2022) and Emotion Regulation (6th December 2022).
  • The next entry point to the Wednesday 4pm group is on 29th June 2022 when the 6-week module in Core Mindfulness and Middle Path Skills is scheduled to begin and the fee is £450 (£75 x 6 sessions). It will be followed by classes in Emotion Regulation (10th August 2022), Interpersonal Effectiveness (2nd November 2022) and Distress Tolerance (4th January 2023).
  • The next 10-week Interpersonal Skills in Action module will begin on Wednesday 5th October 2022 and be held weekly 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 and a 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 in 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 ‘Interpersonal 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 others’ 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 Interpersonal Skills in Action is an advanced 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 for change with acceptance of the moment, validation of self and others, recovering from invalidation, building new relationships, getting people to like you, how to communicate our emotions to others, 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 skillfully.

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 class?

  • There is no specific diagnostic requirement for participation in the DBT programme.
  • DBT 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 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.

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 that introduce some fundamental DBT theories, tools and crisis skills. 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, GP or therapist outlining their history and reasons for referral.


Fees for the intensive DBT programme (individual therapy, skills class and phone skills coaching) range between £175 and £220 a week. 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. To find out more about our fees please visit the FEES section of this website.