To help an individual generalize skills from session to their life, DBT therapists offer in-the-moment phone/text coaching. Therapists will support the individual in using skills to cope effectively with difficult situations. Together they collaborate to assesses the problem and urges for target behaviors, identify effective/feasible goals for the moment, and identify a plan for skills use. Phone coaching helps with skills mastery and generalization, so that the individual can learn to apply skills outside of a therapeutic environment.
To be ready for skills coaching, an individual must have made a commitment to DBT treatment, a commitment to refrain from engaging in target behaviors, and a commitment to their individualized safety plan and skills coaching protocol. Readiness is determined collaboratively between the individual and their therapist.
DBT therapists often respond within 20-60 minutes, though this is not always possible. Calls for skills coaching will be responded to within 24 hours. Skills coaching is not meant for emergencies and an individual will still need to contact emergency medical personnel in the event of life-threatening behavior.