Our Services

Getting Started

We accept self-referrals. To be referred, you can either call us, email us (info@dbthamilton.com), or complete the form at the bottom of the page.

Initial Assessment
For each new client, we conduct two 60-minute assessment sessions to identify your particular goals for treatment and how these goals will help you to live a fulfilling life. We also ensure that we use these assessments to ensure that we are able to meet your needs or whether you would be better served by another professional.

Before attending the assessment appointment, we will ask you to complete several questionnaires to allow us to make the most of the assessment time and to help inform our treatment recommendations. We will also ask you to provide consent to obtain records from current or previous treatment providers to ensure that we have adequate information about your background and treatment history.


Standard DBT
If we recommend Standard DBT based on our assessment, treatment includes:

  • Individual DBT Therapy: The client meets with an individual DBT therapist for 2-4 sessions to 1) identify treatment goals, 2) determine if they are a good fit, 3) discuss what “doing DBT” involves for the therapist and the client, and 4) obtain commitment from the therapist and client to work together for an initial 6-month contract that can be extended contingent on progress.
  • DBT Skills Group: After the client and therapist commit to treatment, the client starts DBT Skills group, in addition to attending weekly individual sessions.
    • The individual sessions are 60 mins each and are held weekly
    • The group therapy sessions are 120 mins and are held weekly. These sessions are conducted like a class – they are structured and focus on reviewing homework, practicing skills, and group leaders teaching new skills
    • We are running two skills groups. Individuals can join either the Tuesday 6:30-8:30 pm group or the Wednesday 6:30-8:30 pm group (depending upon availability) when there are openings (approximately every 6-8 weeks).

Clients commit to 8-session modules, totalling 24 sessions. We often take a few weeks off between modules. The modules cover the following topics – Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotion Regulation, and Interpersonal Effectiveness. New group members can join at the beginning of a module with Mindfulness or at the start of the module (the 2nd or 3rd group within the module).

Before starting group, clients attend an orientation session with one of the group leaders to discuss how the group can help them meet their goals and to identify any potential issues with group attendance and participation.

  • Coaching: The client can also contact his/her individual therapist for coaching when challenging situations arise during the week. The primary purpose of these calls is to help the client apply skills to his or her “real life” issues, with the goal of using and applying skills becoming more automatic as treatment progresses.
  • Consultation Team: Our individual and group therapists attend a weekly DBT consultation team. The purpose of this meeting is for the therapists to 1) deliver high-quality DBT, and 2) to stick with treatment even through rough patches.

Skills Group for Individuals with Emotion Dysregulation

For individuals who already have individual DBT therapists and don’t have access to a DBT or for individuals who can benefit from skills group alone, we offer skills group that follows the same skills taught in the Standard DBT Skills group.

Our team will recommend whether skills group alone would be beneficial. For some individuals, based on their particular concerns and difficulties, we may recommend Standard DBT as the most effective treatment option – skills group alone may not provide the support the individual needs to make change. If we determine that Standard DBT is the most effective treatment option, the client cannot participate in skills group alone. We do this to ensure that we are meeting our ethical obligation to provide effective treatment.

Please see the Standard DBT description for more information about the group.

Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) for PTSD
Many individuals with emotion regulation issues and BPD have experienced traumatic events that continue to haunt them. CPT is an evidenced-based treatment for PTSD. A goal of DBT treatment for many individuals is to be able to stabilize their behaviours and be able to cope with intense emotions enough to treat PTSD. In our experience, PTSD treatment is life-changing and can help individuals truly move forward.

We offer CPT primarily in a group format. Why group? Individuals who are diagnosed with PTSD often experience intense shame regarding the trauma, which in turn leads them to isolate themselves and hide the trauma from others. This isolation fuels feelings of loneliness and “outsiderness”. Participating in a PTSD group is the first time some individuals feel like they “belong” and have people who “get them” and understand the effects of living with PTSD are.

Traumas are not discussed in group. Rather the focus of the group is on how the trauma(s) have affected the clients’ beliefs about themselves, others, and the world. Although clients won’t know what other traumas individuals have experienced and their traumas will differ, clients will share similar beliefs as the result of having PTSD (e.g., “If I trust people they will hurt/leave me”, “I’m broken”, etc.).

The group meets for 12 sessions over 13 weeks. Between sessions 6 & 7, each group member meets with one of the group leaders for an individual session.

This group is run more like a class, similar to the DBT group. Clients are expected to complete daily homework and group leaders introduce new material each week.


Paying for Services

Our goal is to provide greater access to effective and compassionate treatment for individuals with emotion dysregulation, BPD, and related issues. Part of access includes affordability. We have taken this principle into account in setting our fees, in addition to the fee guidelines for psychological services set out by the Ontario Psychological Association.

Before your initial appointment, we will provide the cost of our fees. At the time of the first appointment, we provide a detailed list of our services, their respective costs, and our policies regarding payment.

The cost of our services vary depending upon 1) treatment type (e.g., skills group, assessment, individual therapy), and therapist training. Our fees are partially covered by many insurance plans, and are often tax deductible. Payment is collected at the start of each appointment. At this time, we accept cash, cheques made out to DBT Hamilton, and Interac e-transfers.

The treatments we provide are most effective if you attend regularly. Often “showing up” regularly is a goal our clients have, whether it be for appointments, social events, work, or life in general. We request 24-hours notice of cancellations. If you cancel with at least 24-hours notice, you will not be charged for the missed appointment.