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Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

Cygnet Lodge Kenton is a female only mental health rehabilitation unit which offers DBT programme for service users struggling with intense emotions and destructive behaviour which takes the form of self harm and impulsivity.

Our DBT programme is a structured behavioural therapy aimed at teaching and equipping service users with skills that are necessary to regulate emotions, leading to improvement of interpersonal relations and engagement in self destructive behaviour. DBT at Westlands is:

  • Support Orientated whereby the strengths of individuals are identified and built upon so that service users can feel better about themselves.
  • Cognitive Based, it helps in identifying thoughts, beliefs and assumptions that can make life harder. Statements like “I should have known that this is wrong….” whereas you can say nobody is perfect and we are all learning.
  • Collaborative, it also encourages our clients to pay attention to relationships between them and the staff, working out problems in relationship with their therapist and therapists do the same with them.

Our DBT programme includes skills training group, individual psychotherapy and daily mindfulness. The Skills Group takes place biweekly, i.e. on Tuesdays and Fridays, for an hour each day. This group is devoted to presenting new skills to teach individuals on how to better manage emotions. It also reviews homework for the skills currently being taught. The four main skills which are taught are:

  • Mindfulness
  • Distress Tolerance
  • Emotion Regulation
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness

Individual psychotherapy sessions are usually on a weekly basis for 50 minutes a time. This is structured around specific target behaviours. The therapist uses chain analysis to help the individual get better understanding of problem behaviours and what leads to them. Other strategies used are focused on maintaining motivation and commitment to improve behaviour. Daily diary cards are used to identify problems that need tracking and assessment.

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