ecss » Dialectical Behaviour Therapy


ECSS Psychological Services is pleased to offer a number of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) programs/interventions.


What is DBT?


Dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based, proven therapeutic modality to treat behaviour and emotional regulation issues. It is designed for those who lack, or struggle with, important interpersonal, self-regulation, and distress tolerance skills, independent of diagnosis. In DBT, you will focus on building skills related to: Mindfulness; Emotion Regulation; Distress Tolerance; and Interpersonal Effectiveness.


Who can benefit?


While DBT is proven to offer significant benefits for individuals with a wide variety of mental health challenges, DBT may be a particularly effective path if you struggle to manage behaviours including:


• Overwhelming emotions
• Impulsive behaviours
• Challenging relationships
• Trauma


As a comprehensive treatment, DBT serves to enhance your behavioural capabilities, improve motivation to change, and assist with developing new capabilities in generalizing to your day-to day life. DBT structures the treatment environment in ways essential to support both client and therapist capabilities.






Our DBT Intensive program has three main components: individual therapy; group intervention/skills training; and one-to-one skills training. We run a continuous intake group, with intake intervals every six to eight weeks. The whole program can be completed in 21 weeks. There are three distinct modules that are addressed in group. Prospective clients are interviewed to determine the best starting place for the individual to maximize outcomes.


The group intervention runs once a week, typically in an afternoon, for three hours. It is a continuous intake group. The individual therapy component occurs once a week. The skills training component occurs one-on-one and has several facets. It is individualized for each client. Skills can focus on help with homework, understanding more challenging skills, or processing difficult daily life experiences. There are four areas of focus for the group:


1. Mindfulness – In this area participants are introduced to the concept of Mindfulness (i.e., the practice of being fully aware and present in this moment) and are taught related skills (e.g., observe, describe, participate, non-judgmental).
2. Distress Tolerance – How to tolerate pain in difficult situations, not change it.
3. Emotion Regulation – How to change the emotions you want to change.
4. Interpersonal Effectiveness – How to ask for what you want and saying no, while maintaining self-respect and relationships with others.


Next Intake: Tuesday April 4, 2023




DBT Skills is a 12-week, evening program, designed for adults that covers the primary DBT skills. The preference is for in-person attendance. This group consists of two hours of skills per week and is designed to review skills already learned, or for those who want to learn DBT skills.


Groups have between 8 and 12 participants, and two facilitators, both of whom are psychologists trained in DBT. Groups will include participants of all ages from all walks of life, all struggling with emotional difficulties. This group is a psychoeducational skills-based group, which means it may feel more like a class with an agenda and topics to get through, as well as weekly homework assignments, as opposed to a group where you share significant personal information.


All clients participating in the skills group are required to be under the care of a primary mental health treatment professional who they can see on an individual basis for a minimum of one hour per month and who is responsible for their clinical care while they participate in the skills class. For those without a therapist, ECSS can provide that support. This can be discussed when you register.


Next group starts in September 2023


If you have any questions, or would like additional information, please contact ECSS Psychological Services at (780) 482-3277 or email