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Practical Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) Skills for Individual Therapy; Renee Hoekstra, Psy.D, 3 CEs (pending approval)

  • June 02, 2023
  • 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
  • In Person Venue TBD and Zoom


This workshop offers an overview of practical, down-to-earth DBT skills and handouts that can easily be adapted for individual therapy. 

Dialectics embraces the concept that opposing truths can both exist within the synthesis of extremes. Instead of an either/ or dichotomy in which one person’s perspective invalidates the other, dialectics encourages the search for the validity of unacknowledged truths. In this way there is space for everyone to trust their experience, be curious and nonjudgmental, self-validate, be realistic, and at the same time widen their capacity to be challenged. Clients can loosen their grip on extreme ways of thinking and behaving and find increased cognitive flexibility and increased ability to regulate extreme emotions. When people find the space and compassion within themselves to let go of antagonizing the universe, they can also settle into a more accepting, realistic, and kinder way of being. 

DBT skills are timeless in that they can be utilized across populations, contexts, and time frames; returning again and again to universal core concepts that are relevant to most psychotherapeutic processes. Skill content is generalizable not only in addressing extreme and intense emotions but managing everyday stress. In this workshop I will address a brief history to demystify the confusion of DBT and introduce worksheets in a user friendly manner that everyone can take back to their clients. Practical applications also help clients identify a crisis, identify options for coping, and activate adaptive responding. 

We will go through several of the skills worksheets and handouts and discuss how these worksheets can be applied. Participants will have some opportunity to fill out the worksheets on their own emotions and to engage in experiential and didactic learning. We will spend some time addressing difficulties with hopeless-generating behavior, using worksheets and handouts to activate client engagement in proactive problem-solving, and addressing issues related to mood dependent behavior. 

Please note: All of the DBT skills worksheets and handouts can be found in the following reference. While the skills book is not required for the presentation, it is highly recommended that you have a hard paper copy of the book with you. This is because I may reference additional pages as people ask questions (and in general it is easier than flipping through a PDF in a live interactive conference). Linehan, MML, DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition (2015). Guilford Press, New York, NY.

Brief Biographical Statement:

 Dr. Renee Hoekstra obtained a Masters Degree at Seattle University in Existential-Phenomenological Psychology, and while there was able to take a six month DBT course though the University of Washington as well as complete a DBT internship. She attended a two day suicide workshop with Marsha Linehan, which became extremely useful in doing phone crisis work, working in community mental health settings, working with incarcerated populations, and working in inpatient psychiatry. She graduated from Pacific University’s Psy.D. program and completed a DBT post-doctorate position at Massachusetts Mental Health Center. She was licensed in 2008 and has been in private practice since then, offering ongoing DBT informed groups in an outpatient setting as well as individual psychotherapy services. She has obtained additional training in Functional Analytic Psychotherapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and is part of an ongoing ACT peer consultation group.  In addition she provides consultative evaluations for Disability Determination Services to help determine eligibility for clients with psychiatric disabilities. You can find her blog at and watch her teach DBT skills on YouTube (DBT Skills with Dr. Hoekstra).  

Learning Objectives:

1)   Explain the DBT skill content 

2).   Help clients identify: 

            What is a “crisis” 

            What their options are when in crisis

            Costs/ benefits of target behaviors 

3).   Identify specific worksheets to help clients: 

            Observe emotions

            Identify functions of emotions

            Check the facts

            Problem solve 

            Identify common dialectics 


Cohen, J. M., Norona, J. C., & Yadavia, B. B. (2021). Affirmative Dialectical Behavior Therapy skills training with sexual minority veterans. Cognitive Behavioral Practice, 28, 77-91. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpra.2020.05.008

Forsyth, J., Eifert, G. (2016) The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety, Second Edition. New Harbinger, Oakland, CA. 

Harris, R. ACT Made Simple (2009). New Harbinger, Oakland, CA.

Kaufman, EA, Douaihy, A, Goldstein, TR (2019). Dialectical behavior therapy and motivational interviewing: Conceptual convergence, compatibility, and strategies for integration.

Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, Volume 28, Issue 1, 53-56. 

Kolts, R. (2016). CFT Made Simple: A Clinicians’ Guide to Practicing Compassion Focused Therapy. New Harbinger, Oakland, CA.

Lawlor, C., Vitoratou, S., Duffy, J., Cooper, B., De Souza, T., Le Boutillier, C., Carter, B., Hepworth, C. and Jolley, S. (2022), Managing emotions in psychosis: Evaluation of a brief DBT-informed skills group for individuals with psychosis in routine community services. British Journal for Clinical Psychology, 61, 735-756.

Linehan, MML, DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition (2015). Guilford Press, New York, NY.

Skerven, K., Mirabito, L., Kirkman, M., & Shaw, B. (2021). Dialectical behaviour therapy skills group including stigma management: A pilot with sexual and gender minority veterans. The Cognitive Behaviour Therapist, 14, E33. doi:10.1017/S1754470X21000295

Tebbett-Mock, A.A, Saito, E.,  McGee, M. (2020). Efficacy of Dialectical Behavior Therapy Versus Treatment as Usual for Acute-Care Inpatient Adolescents, Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Volume 59, Issue 1, 149-156.

Wieczorek M, Kacen T, King B, Wilhelm K. (2021). The effectiveness of a short-term DBT skills group in a  real-world clinical setting. Australasian Psychiatry, 29, 600-603. doi:10.1177/10398562211038907


Private Practice Colloquium, Inc.
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Salem, MA 01970


Phone: 978-741-8066