Dialectical Behaviour Therapy


Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) was developed by Marsha Linehan in 1991.  Marsha was trying to design a program to help people with chronic suicidal tendencies.  The leading therapy of choice, CBT, was not as effective for people with this type of emotional disruption (dysregulation).

How Is DBT Different?

What became relevant was a balanced perspective of acceptance and of change.  In other words, there are external situations in life that an individual cannot change and therefore needs to accept as reality.  And at the same time, there are changes that must take place within the individual if he or she is going to live effectively with the situation.  DBT teaches individuals skills around this balanced perspective and, as a result, allows the person to respond to life’s difficulties more effectively.

Research shows that, for many people, DBT is effective in reducing anger, depression, binge-eating, emergency room visits, days in hospital and other difficulties associated with emotion dysregulation.

Comprehensive DBT

Includes 4 Components:

  1. Skills Training
  2. Individual Therapy
  3. Coaching
  4. Consultation Group

We are able to offer all 4 components at A Wise Mind.

Skills Training → Participants would join 6-8 others for a psycho-educational group – over 28 weeks.  There are 4 different skill modules offered:  Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation, and Distress Tolerance.   Participants would be taught skills and asked to complete homework assignments to help reinforce the learning of the material.  Many participants choose to complete 2 rounds of the skills training in order to create the best possible results.

Individual Therapy → This is designed to help the individual problem-solve and assist in applying the learned skills to real-life scenarios.

Coaching → Coaching is generally done over the telephone when individuals are searching for some assistance in using skills to solve a particular real-life issue.

Consultation Group → This is designed to maintain support and integrity of the working model for the therapist and skills trainers.

Through Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, we help
people to manage stress, negative emotion,
depression and engage in a healthier life.

A Wise Mind Mission

A Wise Mind is dedicated to fostering the potential in individuals, families and the community toward emotional well-being. Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is accomplished through skills training, group sessions and individual therapy, as well as reaching out to community leaders, hospitals, schools and corporations.

We realize how challenging it can be to seek help for emotional and behavioural difficulties.  A Wise Mind is committed to understanding the unique needs of each of our clients and ensuring the most appropriate treatment is utilized to address those needs.

Your well-being is our ultimate goal.

A Little About Me

Hello, my name is Kristan Graham-Seymour.

I am a Clinical Social Worker in Waterloo, Ontario, with over 20 years of experience in social work and have been in private practice for over 5 years.  My time spent in the mental health field has brought me vast experience working with adults with mental health issues, behaviourally-challenged children, at-risk youth, dual diagnosis individuals and developmentally disabled individuals.

I am also very dedicated to educating the community about mental health issues and increasing awareness among hospital staff, teachers, organizations, business management, insurance companies and family members of those living with mental health concerns.  It takes a village…

I have an Honours BA in Psychology from the University of Waterloo and a Master of Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University.

As a fully trained Dialectical Behaviour Therapist, I currently provide private DBT skills training groups for individuals with emotional dysregulation issues and their families. This training involves the understanding and practice of Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation and Distress Tolerance.

As well as teaching others, I make a personal effort to use the techniques everyday – embracing the opportunity to interact effectively with others in each present moment.

My goal is to help the people I meet to find their own potential for Wise Mind and, as a result, live “A Life Worth Living”.

Our Team

Mary Jane Goudy – Business Manager

Mary Jane (MJ) has been part of the team for just over a year. With almost 35 years of working in sales and administrative areas, MJ possesses a wealth of experience to assist in keeping the office in good working order. Her passion to more fully understand the area of mental health has led her to participate in workshops and other courses relative to this field and looks forward to doing more to actively support the practice.

For the Family

The families of those participating in DBT play an important role in the overall success of this therapy.  When the skills being taught are understood by everyone in the household, all family members are on the same page and this unity has improved the overall results and in a much faster timeframe.  

The parents are learning the skills in a separate psycho-educational environment than their adult children.  The learning of the skills is simultaneous in the hope that all members of a family unit can apply the skills with each other.

In The Community

We are dedicated to bringing DBT skills training to the schools, hospitals and other areas of the community.  Emotional health is not just an individual or family concern – it involves everyone.  We feel strongly about the opportunity for improved mental health if more people within our community were aware of mental health issues in general and how DBT can help.

Just imagine the impact that this awareness could  have in our hospitals, walk-in clinics, family physician offices.

If you are aware of an opportunity within your community, please feel free to contact our office.   

Getting Back to Work

Work is a prime source of stress in many of our lives.  Employers and employees alike are negatively impacted by absenteeism due to stress leave.

Time off the job is difficult for everyone – financially for both the employee and the employer, loss of production in the company and for the employee’s overall sense of well-being.  

DBT can help employees struggling with emotion dysregulation get back to work faster.