Skills Training Groups

During our lives we develop cognitive and emotional habits, lenses through which we perceive our world and ourselves and out of which we react. These habits can become maladaptive and can cause us significant emotional distress and impair our effectiveness in getting our interpersonal needs met. Further, we are frequently not aware of these habitual mental patterns, how they distort our perceptions and result in painful emotions.

Over approximately 30 group sessions, participants will be learning how emotions operate, why we have emotions and how we can live more comfortably and successfully with our emotions. Participants will become increasingly aware of the lenses through which they perceive themselves and their world. We will discuss ways of becoming increasingly aware of our habitual cognitive and emotional responses and we will practice ways of changing those habits which create suffering.

We have developed skills training groups based upon concepts derived from Marsha Linehan’s Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Jeffrey Young’s Schema Therapy and mindfulness meditation as described by Tara Bennett-Goleman, Daniel Goleman and others involved with the application of Eastern thought to Western psychotherapy. The six elements comprising the training are described briefly below. These elements are presented in separate sections but are interdependent. Ongoing throughout the group, mindfulness exercises are practiced and discussed.

Objectives of Skills Group

  • To better understand the emotional process.
  • To learn and practice emotion management skills.
  • To learn and practice interpersonal effectiveness skills.
  • To learn and practice distress tolerance skills.
  • To understand the concept of mindfulness and the use of mindfulness to
  • diminish emotional suffering and increase emotional satisfaction.
  • To develop a mindfulness practice.

Elements of Skills Training

Mindfulness refers to the act of being present and aware of the here and now experience with acceptance and without judgment. We will discuss the benefits of mindfulness and techniques for practicing the skill of mindfulness.
Emotion Basics
We will discuss the basics of how emotions operate and how our emotions and thoughts interact in light of recent brain research.
Schema are cognitive and emotional habits. We will look at maladaptive schema – schema that cause us problems, and we will learn and practice ways of eliminating or decreasing the impact of maladaptive schema.
Stress Management
This section teaches skills to better manage life stresses so that we can feel on top of our life stresses rather than feeling our life stresses are on top of us.
Emotion Regulation
The focus here is learning skills to help us better understand our emotional process, to help us feel that our emotions are not painfully out of control and to understand ways to live with our emotions comfortably and productively.
Interpersonal Effectiveness
As the name implies, this module addresses our need to develop skills to identify what we want and need from our various relationships and to skillfully and effectively attempt to obtain what we need. end