Episode 39 | Grad Group Superstars

dbt process groups Mar 29, 2023

The Group Work Podcast. Find out what happens in the space where group therapy takes place.

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Today, Katie discusses Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) graduate groups with Kerrie Toole and Stefanie Sugar. Graduate groups give participants more autonomy and a louder voice than a DBT skills group. They are principle-based treatments rather than a fully structured step-by-step program. Tune in to learn what a graduate group is, how experienced you have to be to run one, how to inaugurate your very first group session, and the logistics you would need to take care of. 

Kerrie Toole, LICSW is the Director of Castlebrook Counseling Services. She specializes in DBT with adolescents and adults.

Stefanie Sugar, Psy.D. is the Director of Behavioral Psych Studio. She specializes in providing CBT and DBT to adolescents, adults, couples, and families.



[00:00] Who are Kerrie Toole and Stefanie Sugar?

[05:05] What are DBT graduate groups and why do we run them? 

[11:56] How long should someone stay in a DBT graduate group? 

[14:16] Roleplay: how a DBT graduate group kicks off.

[20:46] How long should a DBT graduate group session run for? 

[21:08] What’s the typical number of members in a DBT group?

[21:31] Most rewarding part of running a DBT graduate group.

[23:17] The logistics of starting and marketing a DBT graduate group.

[25:13] What you should know before starting a DBT graduate group.

[28:07] How to reach Kerrie Toole and Stefanie Sugar. 


3 Key Takeaways 

  1. Graduates groups are groups that become available after someone completes a full course of DBT training including a DBT skills group. People stick around in DBT groups for approximately a year, though there doesn’t necessarily need to be a time limit. 
  2. If you take insurance for your DBT graduate groups, you might need to limit session time to 1 hour. That being said, you can compensate for lost time by adding more sessions and extending the timeframe of the program. 
  3. As a clinician, you need to be able to balance flexibility and structure when running a DBT graduate group. It is recommended that a seasoned clinician run a grad group. You would want to have integrated the skills really well and readily pull these skills out as they make sense within the context of a group 


Tools & Resources

DBT Listserv

Connect with Kerrie Toole: Castlebrook Counseling

Connect with Stefanie Sugar: LinkedIn | Behavioral Psych Studio | House on Fire Podcast

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