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Perinatal mental illnesses are a major public health issue, which untreated can have devastating impacts on women and their families. Problems with emotion regulation are a common feature across perinatal mental illnesses.
This study sought to evaluate the impacts of dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) skills groups for mothers and babies in a community perinatal service. We hypothesised that community perinatal DBT skills groups that included babies would reduce distress and improve emotional regulation.
A mixed-methods within-subjects design was utilised with outcome measures collected pre- and post-intervention. Qualitative interviews exploring mothers’ experiences of bringing their baby to group were also conducted.
Results indicated that DBT skills groups significantly improved levels of psychological distress and emotional regulation.
Community perinatal DBT skills groups are effective when babies are present. Moreover, benefits of including babies were identified, under the themes of Self as Mother, Shared Experience, and Impact of Babies.
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