A mutual client has commenced or is looking to commence an Australian DBT Institute DBT Skills program and has mentioned that you are their individual therapist.

The Australian DBT Institute encourages individuals, enrolled in DBT Skills groups, to continue individual treatment with their current therapist ensuring continuity of care and support as an adjunct to DBT skills group. The therapeutic alliance you have with your individual client is essential to each participant’s success in a DBT skills group. Our executive director, Dr. Peter King, has included some details regarding the Australian DBT Institute’s skills group so you are aware of our overarching approach.

Information about the Australian DBT Institute’s DBT Programs

  • DBT framework through teaching skills in groups, assigning homework tasks to consolidate skills, balance acceptance/change based strategies and are not insight/processing based groups
  • Trauma-Informed with a greater focus on skill acquisition and less of a focus on prolonged exposure techniques
  • Encourage continuation of individual therapy to assist with the integration of new skills and address problematic behaviours including deliberate self-harm, suicidal urges, substance misuse, complex interpersonal interactions and other risk-taking behaviours
  • Recognise individual therapists as the primary therapist managing risk, treatment targets, early warning signs and crisis management 
  • Giving individual clients the choice of learning skills online, in a group setting or in one on one sessions if groups are triggering and/or stress-inducing
  • Adoption of a flipped learning approach to teaching skills and resources outside the group through teaching videos. Group sessions then focus on skill mastery, consolidation and further application within each group session (online group only)
  • Externalizing the teaching of skills through observation of skills being or not being used in pop culture – sitcoms, movies, advertisements and YouTube videos
  • Referring any group interfering behaviours to individual therapists rather than addressing these behaviours in the group.

Recommended therapeutic interventions in individual therapy to complement the Australian DBT Institute’s DBT Programs

  • Completion of a crisis management plan (you can use our crisis management plan if you do not have access to a plan at http://essentiahealth.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Individual-Crisis-Management-Plan.docx)
  • Greater focus on resource strengthening and acquisition leaving trauma/stressful/pain memories and responses to be processed when an individual has a sufficient level of safety and stability
  • Embracing avoidance as a clinical resource for managing distress rather than riding “the wave” of the emotions or addressing types of avoidance (excluding avoidant behaviours which are considered to be deliberate self-harm, these behaviours are addressed immediately)
  • Adopting an adapted Phase-Based Approach that acknowledges the need for containment and de-esciliation before teaching resources and skills before processing and insight based work
  • Increased focus on control for clients including within individual therapeutic sessions
  • Increased focus on the autonomic nervous system and the response of the body to trauma and extremely stressful memories
  • Working within a regulation zone or the therapeutic window and not outside it

The Australian DBT Institute would like to provide you with access to our teaching modules so that the materials your individual client has access to are also known to you. If you would like access to these materials please complete the below form so we can provide you with access to our DBT Assist platform. There will be no charge for access to these materials as your client is an active participant in our programs. If you have multiple clients in our programs you will have access to multiple modules on DBT Assist.

Should you seek any clarification regarding your individual client’s participation in the Essentia Health/Australian DBT group, feel free to contact our team at your convenience via email at dbtassist@dbtinstitute.com.au or via phone at 07 5647 3438.


We will use your email to register you on our DBT Assist platform
Only used to contact you should a group facilitator need to contact you regarding your client’s participation in our DBT group
Click or drag files to this area to upload. You can upload up to 5 files.
Individual therapist remain the primary treatment provider in DBT as per the Evidence Base. Please provide a crisis management plan so that our group facilitators provide an approach that is both trauma informed and consistent with your treatment plan.
Please tick ALL boxes above to acknoweldge the before mentioned statements with relation to your client’s attendance at Essentia Health/Australian DBT Institute’s DBT groups. Individuals who have not consented to treatment will be unable to join Essentia Health’s DBT group program.