What is DBT?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (CAMH) is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that encourages flexible thinking and perspective taking. Depending on the level of need, DBT can be highly intensive and delivered largely one-on-one, or, it can be taught in a group format (groups run for a minimum of 12 weeks and up to 26 weeks depending on the target participants).  DBT is basically a set of social-emotional skills that are like tools in your Life Toolkit that help you become more effective in your day-to-day life, feel more satisfied, and enjoy richer relationships.  Click here for a list of current group start dates!

The four modules of traditional DBT are:

  • Mindfulness – bringing your whole self to participate in the present moment
  • Emotional Regulation – riding out big feelings and expanding your ‘window of tolerance’ 
  • Distress Tolerance – moving through discomfort, boredom, stress and frustration effectively (without making things worse)
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness – seeing other perspectives, setting boundaries, getting what you need while protecting your important relationships
  • PLUS we have developed an Executive Function module for our Youth & Teen programs to help with personal and mental organization

NowWhat DBT Groups  build naturally on the skills and concepts learned in the previous course levels, so participants can continue to learn key skills with an increasingly sophisticated understanding of the material.  We begin our youngest participants with a largely ‘body-based’ approach, helping them to recognise and label their emotions, and learn foundational calm breathing and self-soothing techniques.  Each subsequent level adds more in-depth concepts and introduces cognitive elements as young brains and bodies develop, all the way up to the adult levels, with in-depth exploration of each concept, a full checklist of customizable skills, thought diaries and individual behaviour chain analysis.

Who is it for?

DBT training can benefit everyone as part of a healthy & balanced approach to life.  GPs often recommend DBT as an invaluable tool for those managing challlenges such as:

  • ADHD
  • ASD
  • Anxiety
  • Mood challenges
  • Social-emotional difficulties

DBT concepts inform our entire collaborative model at NowWhat, and we have created unique DBT curriculum for every age and stage (age 6 to adults, including adults with Intellectual Disabilities) that bring the skills and concepts to life in ways that are practical and effective at every stage of life.  The resources and activities are fun and relatable, led by experienced MSWs and Behaviour Coaches.  We take a customizable approach that includes 1:1 coaching, group sessions and parent/family coaching sessions to form a unique and comprehensive opportunity to learn these essential social, emotional and life skills in a positive and affirming environment.

Why would we join?

The benefits of DBT are lifelong.  Feedback from parents and graduates includes:

  • Leaders have time to really get to know participants over time so they can help them target specific personal challenges

  • Children & youth are supported while they make and maintain friendships with each other throughout the course (making new friends is a common highlight for course graduates!)

  • For children’s groups, constant parent feedback means we can use language and examples that are meaningful to your kids, helping them make real-life connections that make a positive difference to the dynamic in your home

  • For adult groups, the solidarity and community formed with others who are ‘in the same boat’ is a huge benefit
  • Gaining practical skills to have in their toolbox makes people feel more competent in their daily lives and better prepared to handle stress

Meet the DBT team

Mark Thompson [MSW, RSW] (He/him) has extensive experience in providing compassionate, non-judgemental clinical therapy to children, adolescents and adults. He is also highly skilled in supporting those living with neuro-diversities [ADHD, ASD, intellectual disabilities and other exceptionalities]. Mark has leveraged his expertise in these areas to help develop, plan and deliver our unique DBT courses, with a focus on parent coaching.  Mark is also our specialist in delivering  more traditional DBT content 1:1 when required.

Rina Rodak [B.A. M.A Applied Ethics] (She/her) has more than 20 years of experience as an educator, curriculum developer, school administrator, and advocate for children and their families.  Rina is an ADHD & Executive Functioning specialist with advanced training in Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS), SibShop™ workshops, and UCLA PEERS social skills training for young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and social challenges.  Rina is a sought-after Parent Coach and family strategist and provides the parent coaching for our DBT programs.

Nigel Applewhaite [BA (Hons.) Psychology] (He/him) lends his irrepressible energy, enthusiasm and widely varied therapeutic experience to NowWhat as a Behaviour Coach, Executive Function Coach and program facilitator.  Nigel is working towards his Social Work degree and has been working with the DBT modality for several years, as a 1:1 coach helping kids put their skills into practice, as well as bringing the fun and action to the weekly DBT groups delivering group content in his warm, approachable and relatable manner.

Breanne Schuit [BA, MSc, CCLS] (She/her) is a Certified Child Life Specialist who specializes in understanding the developmental and emotional needs of children aged 0-18 and facing illness, trauma, disability, transitions, death, and bereavement. She uses therapeutic play, bibliotherapy, art, and other creative modalities to support young people’s emotional wellbeing. Breanne is is thrilled to be putting her extensive DBT experience to use facilitating our positive, forward-thinking programs at NowWhat.

Helen Brook [RSW, MSW] (she/her) has been a social worker for 18 years, working extensively in child welfare as well as with parents, children and youth. Helen is an experienced individual counsellor, as well as a highly competent supervisor and treatment planner.  Helen facilitates and supervises many of our DBT groups.




See our calendar for upcoming group options or contact us to register for the next intake (see DBT Groups).
DBT can be often be covered by many benefit plans, OAP and SSAH funding (For preschool & early childhood options, see our Pre-DBT
Skill Builders courses).