Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Pregnancy and Postpartum is a 24-week group intervention for at-risk mothers created Maria Muzik MD, Katie Bresky, LMSW and Natalie Burns, LMSW and based on the works of Marsha Linehan, PhD.
While DBT was originally developed for chronic suicidality and BPD, it is now adapted to treat multiple problem areas/diagnostic criteria (Substance Abuse, Eating Disorders, etc). It is a treatment approach that is well suited to honor biological, environmental, mood and interpersonal changes present in perinatal period/perinatal anxiety and depression.
The treatment incorporates several evidence-based therapies/intervention strategies including DBT, Interpersonal psychotherapy and Infant Parent Psychotherapy, behavioral change and acceptance strategies as well as validation. This group model is a valuable tool in the perinatal period, allowing a place for normalization of symptoms, finding common ground among women and increasing peer support.
This treatment is accessible, supportive, and sensitive to the unique needs of women during the perinatal period, teaching concrete therapeutic skills that target frequent areas of difficulty in the perinatal period. These include biological changes impacting mood regulation and frustration tolerance, changes in interpersonal relationships and support networks, as well as the challenge of attending to multiple needs of individual and family members. With a focus on emotion regulation and stress coping skills that promote mothers’ mental health, peer support, parenting competence, and parent-child relationships, the Perinatal DBT group ultimately seeks to prevent recurrence of mental health episodes in mothers and the inter-generational transmission of risk and trauma to their children.
The child team component provides a therapeutic play based group setting for infants toddlers and preschoolers where children engage in group socialization and therapeutic skill development. The focus of the intervention is often centered on the development of the child’s ability to better communicate their emotions, cope with big feelings, and advance their social skills through supported interactions with peerrs/caregivers. The mission of the child team is to provide a secure space for exploration, participation, and skill development while in close proximity to their mothers.
With the training we will provide participants the opportunity to explore ways to successfully build the curriculum into their practice, in both group and individual settings. The training will focus on a basic overview of the program curriculum, psychoeducation, theory and in vivo practice. It serves as a basic overview to DBT for Pregnancy and Postpartum and will be followed with an opportunity for more intensive training in coming months.