Thanks to a generous grant from the Fund for Women at the Delaware Community Foundation, several DGS clients have benefited from Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).

The clients who participated were teenage girls in our Outpatient/Therapeutic Support for Families Program (OP/TSF). In OP/TSF, treatment services are primarily provided out of the office—in homes, schools, and the community for clients who need a higher-level of care than office-based services. DBT is an effective method for dealing with a wide range of issues. The main goals are to teach coping mechanisms and reduce stress.

Four basic skills are taught: mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotional regulation, and distress tolerance.

Kevana Nixon, DGS OP/TSF Coordinator in New Castle County and Lindsay Griffin, DGS CARES Supervisor described how the teens learned each of these.

“Mindfulness is the foundation of DBT,” said Kevana. “It’s awareness of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors,” she continued. “We explored various aspects of the mind, such as logic and emotions, as well as the ideal state of mind.”

Distress tolerance techniques keep emotions manageable in tough times. Examples include visualization, finding meaning, and self-encouragement. “We used role playing with feedback for this part of work,” noted Lindsay.

For interpersonal effectiveness, clinicians covered the skills everyone needs to grow or maintain strong, healthy, positive relationships.
While focused on emotional regulation, the clients did a worksheet to explore, identify, and discuss their own thought process. “They learned to check the facts and make sure emotional reactions fit the situation,” said Kevana.

“At the end, the girls found DBT to be very helpful, especially because they got to hear from their peers,” concluded Lindsay.

DGS remains grateful to the Fund for Women, which has been making a difference in the lives of women and girls in Delaware since 1993, for providing funding for DBT group therapy. Through collective philanthropy, the Fund invests and advocates by bringing together knowledge, passion, and commitment to empower women and girls in Delaware to achieve their potential.