Day/Time:    Thursdays, 6:15 to 8:15 pm, Next 8 week module starts March 29
Group size:   3-6 couples,
Cost:             $120/session + one-time fee for intake & assessment.
Insurance:     Documentation provided for out-of-network reimbursement
Status:          Taking new clients now for March 29
Info:              Email

Three modules. Take them all. Take just one. We’ll help you figure out what your relationship needs.

Is your relationship on the rocks (or headed that way)?  Start with Module 1 – Stop Making Things Worse!

Do you want to resolve your differences more effectively?  Say what you mean and mean what you say? Consider Module 2 – Managing Conflict Effectively

Do you want to increase friendship, closeness and intimacy?  Or maybe you want to reignite the spark that brought you together.  Consider Module 3 – Increasing the Positives In Your Relationship! 

Participating couples have all sorts of relationships — long-term relationships,, civil unions, marriage, cohabitation and domestic partnerships.  Couples include young and old, with and without children, same sex and heterosexual couples, and couples of all races and ethnicities.  All are welcome!


Each module is six to eight weeks and meets Thursdays from 6:15 to 8:15 pm.

In Couples DBT Skills Groups, you learn by doing with 2-3 experiential exercises each session.  We will ask you to choose an issue in “the Goldilocks zone” – not too hard, not too difficult — from the past week (only current issues allowed).

We will briefly instruct you how to use the skill and then you will apply the skill to your issue.  A discussion follows each exercise to identify lessons learned and troubleshoot problems.  You don’t have to share anything with the group that you don’t want to share.


Therapists coach you to use the skills effectively.  In Modules 1 and 2, each couple has their own therapist to help you notice ineffective habits and replace them with effective skills.  Class size is capped at three couples. In Module 3, each therapist coaches two couples. Class size is capped at six couples.

WHat you learn

Module 1: Stop Making Things Worse

Up to three couples for six weeks

Couples have to learn to stop making things worse before they can make things better. In this six week module, you will learn and practice skills to notice when your emotions are getting the better of you and to regulate your own emotions. You will learn to halt emotional crises in their tracks, stop invalidating and use basic rules of engagement.

You will learn and practice the basics of mindful listening, validation and constructive engagement. You will cover four ways to de-escalate growing tension, graceful exits and effective repairs. Finally, you will learn and practice ridding your relationship of destructive criticism, defensiveness, contempt and stonewalling.

Module 2: Managing Conflict Effectively

Up to three couples for six weeks

Conflict happens in all relationships.  In this six week module, you will go into greater depth with the basic skills learned in Module 1, learning to put skills together in more challenging exercises. Instead of us telling you what skills to use, you will figure out for yourselves what skills are needed.

You will identify what skills to use when differences are resolvable and when chronic problems seem intransigent. We teach the difference between being effective and being right and how to accept annoying behaviors without going crazy,

You will learn how to say what you mean and mean what you say — even when tensions are running high.  We’ll help you notice and adjust your tone of voice, facial expressions and body language that contribute to conflict.

Module 3: Increasing the Positives in Your Relationship

Up to six couples for eight weeks

It’s not enough to decrease the negatives in your relationship.  You also have to increase the positives to sustain it for the long haul. When you increase the positives, the emotional connection between you and your partner grows stronger, you are more responsive to each other and you engage more fully with each other –strengthening the most fundamental bonds of your relationship.

In this 8-week module, you and your partner will learn and practice new ways to increase the positives in your relationship. In each two-hour session, you will:

  • Talk to each other in structured conversations based on the book, Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Dr. Sue Johnson
  • Learn practical skills you can use every day to increase the positives in your relationship based on Dr. Alan Fruzzetti’s The High Conflict Couple: A Dialectical Behavior Therapy Guide to Finding Peace, Intimacy, and Validation
  • Apply skills to your situation using structured exercises in a safe environment
  • Experience the benefits these skills can bring to your relationship firsthand
  • Gain fresh insight into your partner’s needs, wants and preferences
  • Get tips and ideas from other couples in the group

With the guidance of experienced couples therapists, you will spend nearly half of every two hour session interacting with your partner. Between sessions, you will be asked to practice and track the skills you use. Participating couples will commit to spend three hours a week together increasing the positives and strengthening your emotional connection.  You also will need to read a chapter a week from Hold Me Tight.

who should participate?

If you are growing emotionally distant or avoiding spending time together, this skills group can help you reconnect, respond and engage more fully again (or for the first time)

If you focus on your differences more than what you share in common, then this skills group can shift your emphasis.

If you don’t talk about anything except work, problems that need solving and who’s going to do the laundry, this skills group will teach you how to make your conversations interesting again.

If your relationship has grown stale, maybe even kind of boring, this skills group will teach you how to spice it up, balancing predictability with surprise

If you avoid sharing your thoughts and feelings for fear of being hurt one more time, this skills group will help you rebuild trust

If you want to make your relationship last, this skills group will equip you for the long haul.

This skills group is not for everyone. If you are currently in a volatile, high conflict relationship, you will want to do our Stop Making Things Worse and/or Managing Conflicts Effectively skills group(s) before this one.

register now

Complete and return the registration form below to or snail mail to Sandra Miller, St Louis DBT, 1034 S. Brentwood Blvd, Suite 555, Richmond Heights, MO 63117.

Registration Form & Agreement to Participate

After we receive your registration form, we will send you a link to complete the Gottman Relationship Checkup, if you have not already completed it.  The checkup is an online assessment tool that helps us make the skills group more effective to meet your needs.


If you have questions, email Sandra Miller at or leave a message at 314-328-7743.

meet the therapists

Sandra Miller, MSW, LCSW

Paige Lynch, MA, LPC