Mental Health and Addiction with Skills for Life Offered in Thunder Bay

Six Thunder Bay groups come together to help people
Six Thunder Bay groups come together to help people
Six Thunder Bay groups come together to help people
Six Thunder Bay groups come together to help people

THUNDER BAY – Six local organizations officially partnered together to provide a Community Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) Based Skills Group in the city of Thunder Bay: Alpha Court Community Mental Health & Addiction Services, Anishnawbe Mushkiki Inc., Children’s Centre Thunder Bay, Dilico Anishinabek Family Care, St. Joseph’s Care Group and Thunder Bay Counselling Centre.

Thunder Bay Counselling Centre, Executive Director, Nancy Chamberlain stated, “This is a very significant day for these organizations and mental health and addiction support in Thunder Bay. Over the last two years all facilitators from the organizations have been provided with training in DBT and/ Skills Training and this January we will commence with our first group.”

DBT is meant to address struggles with intense emotions, chaotic relationships and impulsive behaviors. It teaches people to manage their emotions, behaviours and relationships more effectively, and helps people learn to handle distress and painful emotions in healthier ways. The new DBT Based Skills Group that will be offered in Thunder Bay, is an educational group that teaches skills in the following areas: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation and interpersonal effectiveness.

Alpha Court Community Mental Health and Addiction Services, Interim Executive Director Nicole Latour commented, “Emotionally sensitive people in particular often feel controlled by their emotions. There isn’t a quick fix solution. Problems that other people can just brush off can cause others great emotional disturbance. The skills group will involve patients assessing their lives for change and will also help them address issues such as self-worth, problem identification and coping mechanisms that will enhance skills for every day living.”

DBT was initially developed to treat people struggling with suicidal behaviours. It has since been proven to be effective in treating eating disorders, depression, substance abuse, anxiety, and a variety of other disorders. The DBT Based Skills Group sessions will consist of mindfulness practice, homework review and creative presentations of new skills. Experiential learning methods such as use of media, role-plays, expressive art and games will be used to teach, practice and generalize new skills in a safe and supportive environment. Says Dilico Anishinabek Family Care, Assistant Director of Mental Health and Addictions, Tina Bobinski; “Participants will aim to develop a clearer sense of self, build relationship skills, increase control of impulsive behaviours, and increase their ability to tolerate painful and distressing situations. Skills will also help to reduce emotional suffering, build positive experiences and assist people in gaining acceptance of their situation.”

Thunder Bay Counselling Centre, Manager of Addiction Services, Aimee Jaun shared, “It’s really about how people can use the skills to experience and be fully present with whatever emotion shows up – all of them, even the ones they want to avoid. This DBT Based Skills Group will provide tools people can use in all aspects of their lives.”

Participants must be 18 years of age. Group sessions starting in January will be held weekly for 8 weeks. For information or details on how to make a referral please contact: (807) 683-4812.


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