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"Dialectical Behavioural Therapy"

About: Sligo/Leitrim Mental Health Services / Sligo Adult Community Mental Health Services

(as a service user),

After being on the waiting list for DBT for 18 months I finally started in March, 2 weeks before lockdown. DBT consists of a once a week, hour long, 1 to 1 therapy session with a DBT counsellor and once a week, 2 1/2 hour, group session with up to six people and 2 counsellors. 

During lockdown we have been getting 2 x 1hr  1 to 1 phone sessions. They tried to do some online video and phone group sessions but none of these worked for everyone in the group.

Now retail shops, cafes and restaurants are opening up and they are even talking about reducing the 2m distancing to 1m so smaller places can open.

We are still unable to get together for group therapy. One of the main components in DBT is the group therapy sessions and the importance of being in a group and face to face with others is huge. Why we are still waiting and losing out on these important session is beyond me. The building where we have out sessions is more than big enough to have these safety measures in place.

Is shopping in Pennys more essential than therapy to help people stop self harming? Really? It feels like people using the mental health services are being forgotten about.....again.

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Response from Aine Finan, DBT Team Leader, Sligo Adult Mental Health 3 years ago
Aine Finan
DBT Team Leader,
Sligo Adult Mental Health
Submitted on 06/07/2020 at 10:32
Published on Care Opinion at 10:33

Dear Perseussy38,

Thank you for commenting on CareOpinion and sharing your views about how COVID-19 has impacted DBT service delivery. As a team, we share your frustrations! It's such unfortunate timing that just as your treatment was getting underway, COVID-19 began to spread and become a problem in Ireland.

The decision to stop face-to-face contacts was taken by HSE management with the safety of service users and staff in mind. While some services may have been suspended for a number of months, the DBT Service strove to adapt in order to continue offering the four modalities of DBT (individual therapy, skills training, phone coaching and consult meetings) to our clients in the best way we could under the circumstances. This led to a frustrating and time consuming search for an online platform that would work well enough and that everyone could access. Of course, this involved a lot of trial and error, and a few failed attempts to get the skills group up and running again. When we encountered these difficulties we made sure to offer individual skills training phone calls to clients, to ensure clients didn't miss out on this important aspect of DBT.

Skills training of course, is not group therapy, but rather a teaching session where skills are taught. While we recognise that the opportunity to learn from others and share the social benefits of the group setting is lost when teaching skills on an individual basis, we felt it was the next best thing under the circumstances and fulfilled the core aim of delivering teaching on new skills to clients.

We are now closer to having a suitable online platform to continue the skills training in a group format. We too would like to be able to resume the skills training group in person, however we must follow organisational protocols about how to do this safely.

If the course of COVID-19 in Ireland continues to be well controlled, we hope this will be a possibility in the not too distant future and will keep you informed of developments with regard to this. In the meantime, we will continue to do our best to ensure ongoing delivery of a high standard of DBT treatment.

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