Mt. Diablo Psychological Services provides Dialectical Behavior Therapy in Contra Costa and Alameda Counties, California

Telephone skills coaching is a service that clients receive when they are in the full DBT program with MDPS. Full program constitutes weekly skills groups and weekly individual DBT sessions. Skills coaching is designed to help DBT clients use their skills in those difficult situations where they need them the most.

Calls to your primary therapist are encouraged in DBT under the following circumstances:

1. When you are in crisis or facing a problem that you cannot solve on your own and need skills coaching.
2. When your relationship with your therapist is in disrepair and mending is needed.

What will happen when you call:

1. The conversation will be brief – just a few minutes.
2. The goal of the call is to find ways to cope better with the current emotional suffering without hurting yourself until a more complete plan of action can be devised to solve the difficulty.
3. The first question asked will be, “Where are you?”  You must agree to provide an accurate address.
4. The focus will then switch to your current feeling and/or current problem and emotion regulation or problem solving strategies.  The therapist will explore options by making suggestions or assignments. A willing attitude is needed to try some of the things suggested.

When not to call:

1. Calling your therapist after engaging in self-injurious behavior is not appropriate. If medical attention is needed, or if you still feel in danger, you may need to contact emergency services directly. This could be a trip to the emergency room for medical attention or a psychiatric evaluation. If you injure yourself, you may not call your therapist for 24 hours, and you will need to do a chain analysis on the event, as well as discuss it in detail in your next scheduled individual therapy session.
2. Calling your therapist when you are not willing to engage in any skills to reduce your distress is not appropriate. Such behavior makes your therapist feel ineffective and leads to therapist burnout.