If you are a supporter, carer, family member, partner or friend of someone who has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and/or extreme emotional dysregulation, C-DBT is an approach that can provide you with support and practical skills to effectively embrace compassion and wisdom each day to fully experience and participate in life!  


The C-DBT program is based on the work of Perry Hoffman, Alan Fruzzetti, Marsha Linehan and Shari Manning which was first published in 1999. The Australian DBT Institute delivered our first C-DBT Skills Training in 2004 to complement our DBT programs and to support carers, partners, family and friends of individuals in our DBT programs. Today’s version of our C-DBT Skills Training Program has been further enhanced to include the lived experience of individuals with extreme emotions and their carers as well as current research.


C-DBT acknowledges that sharing a life with a loved one with emotional sensitivity and extreme emotions can be delightful, as well as challenging and overwhelming. As carers, partners, family and friends we can have experiences/moments of emotional vulnerability and sensitivity ourselves. C-DBT is a program for individuals who want to continue supporting loved ones and can see the benefit of becoming more skillful themselves.

The approach is informed by Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) which is a type of behavioural therapy. DBT’s main goals are to teach individuals how to live in the moment, develop healthy ways to cope with stress, regulate emotions, and improve their relationships with others.

Learning Objectives in the C-DBT groups

Schedule for C-DBT group sessions

Each session provides the opportunity for participants to learn and practice using effective resources to support carers, family and friends of individuals in our DBT programs. Below is an overview of our 10 weekly sessions including the session theme for each week.


Week 1: Introduction to C-DBT​ Skills Training

  • Program goals and overview
  • Overview of emotion dysregulation and borderline personality disorder
  • Introduction to dialectics and key dialectical patterns in family functioning
  • Biosocial Model & Behaviour Responses to Stress
  • Skills Coaching in DBT


Week 2: Being Aware (Core Mindfulness Skills)

  • Mindful awareness methods to access and to express our Wise/Balanced Mind”
  • The essential skill of mindful observing
  • Mindful describing to put words to our inner experience, to validate, and to communicate more accurately
  • Participating more mindfully, openly, and deeply to truly engage our relationships


Week 3: Being Aware (Core Mindfulness Skills)

  • Increasing awareness of our judging 
  • Learning to non-judgmentally describe
  • How to one-mindfully direct our attention in relationship
  • Increasing effective ways of relating with the priority on “What’s Effective/What Works?”


Week 4: Validation a key for understanding (Middle Path Skills)

  • DBT Bio-Social Theory and empathy
  • Understanding the results of invalidation
  • How to use Validation as an essential skill in relating and for emotion dysregulation


Week 5: Behavioural Principles for Family & Carer Relationships (Middle Path Skills) 

  • Recognizing the context that triggers behavioural challenges and conflict
  • Recognizing the function of problem behaviours and how to avoid unintentionally reinforce these behaviours
  • Using a 24-hour timeline (behavioural chain analysis) to more effectively understand and intervene in a problem behaviour patterns


Week 6: Coping with the Chaos (Distress Tolerance Skills)

  • Strategies to effectively accept (when necessary), not resist or judge challenging situations
  • Replacing old mood-dependent, self-defeating behaviours with effective, crisis-survival skills


Week 7: Understanding & Managing Emotions (Emotion Regulation Skills)

  • Understanding the functions of emotions
  • Goals of emotion regulation as support and guide
  • Using Mindfulness to understand intense emotions
  • Applying skills to decrease our vulnerability to overwhelming emotions
  • Applying skills to decrease our emotional suffering and reactivity with others


Week 8: Managing Relationship (Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills)

  • Applying Core Mindfulness skills in our relationships
  • The role of family beliefs, secrets, myths
  • Clarifying goals and priorities for our objectives, relationships, and self-respect needs


Week 9: Managing Relationship (Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills)

  • How emotion dysregulation impacts family relationships and how to effectively respond
  • The DBT communication skills of DEAR MAN with GIVE to care for our relationship and FAST to respect ourselves


Week 10: Applying C-DBT Skills in Our Most Important Relationships

  • Fine-tuning our 24-hour timeline (Behaviour Chain Analyses)
  • Reviewing the C-DBT skills and strategies in light of individual Values, Goals and Actions
  • Discuss the most important skills that each member wants to commit to practice


To join our C-DBT program please complete the form below.