USF recruiting participants for DBT skills-training therapy

Shake off those stressors and learn about self-acceptance in USF's new therapy program.


We’ve all been there: between the job, the kids, and trying to maintain some form of sanity in our busy lives, stress can easily take over. USF’s Psychological Services Center wants to change this by offering Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) to give people with high levels of these problems the tools to help manage emotions and behavior, which will improve your overall quality of life.

DBT is a therapeutic approach developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan, from the University of Washington, to work with clients with problems including high emotional reactivity, impulsive behaviors, and conflict in relationships. Though initially created for people with severe cases of emotional problems (e.g. suicidal, self-harm), this treatment can be applied to anyone who might be experiencing discomforting degrees of emotional or behavioral instability.

Dr. Edelyn Verona, an Associate Professor at USF who also serves as the Director of Clinical Training, recently started a DBT program at the USF Psychological Services Center. Soon, participants will be able to work with Dr. Verona’s highly-trained doctoral students who will coach clients on how to build the skills necessary to cope with the stressors of everyday life in either group meetings or private, individual sessions.

While the methods of DBT resonate with an Eastern flair based on meditation practices, Dr. Verona says, “DBT emphasizes changing behaviors as well as validating the client's experience, and helping them develop acceptance skills as well. We work with clients to be kind to themselves, at the same time that they learn to accept certain things that may not be able to be changed–at least not in the short term. This balance between working on change and accepting other aspects of our life is the cornerstone of DBT. In that sense, there is instruction in Mindfulness skills, not only the meditative techniques, but also working on being fully aware and nonjudgmental with ourselves and what is happening in our lives.”

Feeling out of control, emotionally impulsive, or unable to maintain stable relationships with people? This program could help resolve issues to form a more meaningful, happy life. “In several controlled clinical trials, clients who undertake DBT versus treatment as usual experience fewer hospitalizations, less suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and improved interpersonal skills. A recent study found that the DBT skills training group on its own, even if the client did not have an individual DBT therapist, provided good outcomes for clients,” Dr. Verona notes.

Group skills training sessions start soon and will be $15 for a 2.5 hr session. Individual therapy is charged based on a sliding fee scale, adjusted for each client's ability to pay (e.g. annual income). Sessions will be held weekly on Wednesday evenings from 5:30-7 p.m at USF’s Pyschological Services Center, 3711 USF Citrus Drive, PCD1100, Tampa. Call them at 813-974-2496 for a screening (mention "DBT"). psc.usf.edu/Index.aspx.

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