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Int J Group Psychother. 2011 Oct;61(4):645-57. doi: 10.1521/ijgp.2011.61.4.645.

Dialectical behavior therapy group skills training in a community mental health setting: a pilot study.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Vanderbilt University, USA.


Effective and affordable therapies are needed for treating people with severe and persistent mental illness in a community mental health setting. In this pilot study, we evaluated the effectiveness of a modified dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) protocol for improving symptoms and functioning in a cohort of persons with severe and persistent mental illness. We provided six months of weekly DBT skills training in a group setting. Depression symptoms decreased significantly after treatment. There was a wide range of number of sessions attended, with a minority of the participants completing the full course of treatment. Increased attendance was correlated with improvements in depression symptoms, overall symptoms, quality of life, and community functioning. The study findings suggest that the group skills training component of DBT can be successfully implemented in a community mental health center and that further research to determine its efficacy in comparison to other treatments is warranted.

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