Lifeskills Women's Trauma Program

In response to a growing need, Lifeskills South Florida offers nationally recognized dialectical behavior therapy and trauma treatment for adult women, 18 years and older, in their specialized Women’s Trauma Program. This unique program focuses on individual struggles with trauma and other related mental health diagnoses in a gender-specific, safe, and therapeutic environment.

What Makes Our Program Different?


DBT Expertise

Our program consists of a 13-week DBT-adherent curriculum along with additional trauma-related process groups. We have around-the-clock staffing as well as DBT-trained clinicians on call for emerging needs.

Collaborative Approach

Our caring professionals partner with each client, their loved ones, and their community providers to design an individualized care plan utilizing a comprehensive approach to treatment that addresses their specific mental health condition. Each client has a dedicated primary therapist as well as a dedicated family therapist.

Clinical Outcomes

As a National Center of Clinical Excellence, Lifeskills is a leading authority whose treatment outcomes consistently outpace the industry across the board. Using the Short Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Rating Interview (SPRINT), which measures PTSD symptom change over time, our clients experienced a 67% average reduction in symptom severity in 2022.

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Learn more about the specialized treatment provided in our Women's Trauma Program

What and How We Treat

What We Treat

While this program was developed to treat trauma, symptoms often overlap with many other mental health diagnoses related to emotional dysregulation, and Lifeskills provides industry-leading treatment for the following conditions:
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Borderline Personality Disorder and Other Personality Disorders
  • Dissociative Disorders
  • Interpersonal Relationships
  • Maladaptive Behaviors
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Self-Harming Behaviors
  • Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

How We Treat

We develop individualized recovery plans for each client that include specific skills, therapies, and pathways that best fit their needs and diagnosis. Our staff is intensively trained in all therapies and groups listed below, giving our clients the best chance of sustained recovery.
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Pathway and Radically Open DBT (RO-DBT)
  • Trauma Pathway
  • Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Seeking Safety
  • Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)
  • Family Support Program
  • Grief and Loss Therapy
  • Nutrition Therapy
  • Yoga and Meditation Therapy
  • Metabolic Fitness Pathway

What Our Alumni, Their Families, and Clinical Partners Are Saying

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“I have over 25 years experience working in the mental health and substance abuse field. Lifeskills of South Florida has exceptional staff. The staff are highly trained in DBT and EMDR as well as grief and trauma. I have seen clients being treated with the utmost dignity and respect. If you or a loved one is struggling, this is the place to get the help you and your loved ones deserve.”
– Grateful Clinical Partner
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“My experience at Lifeskills has been life changing. There were days where I was really struggling, and I probably wasn't the easiest person to work with. I was always met with patience and compassion that I have never experienced from anyone in the mental health field before. The trauma work was very difficult, and Dr. Laura never failed to be there for me when I needed it, making the process much safer. Now that I am finally done with treatment I feel hopeful for my future, and I wouldn't want anything about my stay to be different.” – Grateful Lifeskills Alumnus
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“My sister went here recently for residential treatment for BPD, Depression, and Addiction issues. This program has given me hope that she will now have a new lease in life. With the guidance of Dr. Nicolle and Dr. Krista, my sister was able to work through past traumas in a space that was safe and welcoming. Seeing her find self-love and passion gives me faith in her ability to find independence and stability. Thank you Lifeskills!” – Grateful Family Member of Alumnus
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“I came to Lifeskills South Florida for PTSD and anxiety. I was assigned to Dr.Florin as my primary therapist. He is extremely compassionate. I also worked closely with Dr.Chen, he has an extensive background in trauma of first responders. Dr.Chen did exposure therapy with me and it really helped me process my trauma from being a first responder. Rabbi Brandon Gaines and Dr. Krista where also a part of my treatment here at Life Skills. They where always there to listen and help me process the challenges coming from the exposure therapy. I would describe my time here as life changing in many ways. I have met some amazing people here that I will keep in touch with for a very long time.” – Grateful Alumnus
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“The admissions process was easy and painless. My experience with the staff was very pleasant, they consistently treated me with respect and dignity. My primary therapist Dr. Arthur was very knowledgeable and helped me find freedom from my trauma. Additionally, my family therapist Dr. Daron helped me tremendously as I worked to build a strong foundation with my family. Talking with Rabbi Gaines, who leads the spiritual aspect of the program was also extremely pivotal in my stay here as he helped me reconnect with God, live with integrity and develop into the man God has destined me to be. Overall, I am extremely satisfied with the program here at LifeSkills and I would recommend it to anyone who truly wants a second chance at life.” – Grateful Alumnus
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“Lifeskills South Florida has been an absolute blessing for my family. My daughter was broken, she was coping with her BPD by using drugs and became addicted. Before she went there she said "mom, I don't even know who I am". Dr Nicolle and Dr. Krista were amazing! My daughter now is solid in who she is and hopeful about her future! I am extremely grateful to all of the staff for teaching her the skills to live to her potential! Thank you so much!” – Grateful Family Member of Alumnus
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“I came to Lifeskills in crisis from many years of severe trauma and accompanying substance abuse. I can truly say I was at rock bottom. Under the immensely competent, dedicated, personalized, nurturing care of Drs. Despina and Mirella, I had a wonderful experience. I learned so much about myself and my issues, and I can say that I found true healing. I came out sober, much healthier, and able to manage my life in a way that I never could have without their help. I am forever indebted to them, and I would recommend Lifeskills to anyone ready to do the hard work of treating their mental illness.” – Grateful Alumnus
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“I would like to thank Dr. Marie for the exceptional one on one therapy. She has helped me through some tough trauma and I couldn't have been more grateful that I was placed in her caseload.“ – Grateful Alumnus
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“Awesome people in a super supportive environment with top-notch facilities, process groups, art therapy, and DBT... Daily yoga classes with Buffy were my favorite! All of the techs & alumni support staff were another great resource for the clients. Dr. Despina and Dr. Mirella were amazing at helping me work through so much of my past trauma and my mental health has come a long way. Thanks to everyone who has been a part of my journey at LifeSkills!” – Grateful Alumnus

Program Components

  • An encouraging, home-like, and healing small milieu with 24/7 nursing staff supervision on its own private section of the Lifeskills campus. With a focus on balance and healing, the campus permits separation without isolation. The property also includes areas for reflection, outdoor walking paths, sitting areas, patios, and water features.
  • A comprehensive 13-week DBT-adherent curriculum with additional trauma-related process groups.
  • A group therapy curriculum with a focus on social skills training, interpersonal effectiveness, reading cues, increasing motivation, expressive arts, and cognitive remediation.
  • A focus on health and body utilizing structured psychoeducation regarding activities of daily living (ADLs), including hygiene, medication compliance, sleep hygiene, and nutrition; yoga guided by professionals; culinary arts; and metabolic fitness.
  • Psychiatric evaluation, with weekly follow-up appointments and increased pharmacologic appointments as needed, with the psychiatrist.
  • A Board-certified internal medicine and primary care physician is on-site for managing medical concerns as well as nursing support.
  • A specifically assigned clinical primary therapist for individualized treatment planning and individual sessions and support.
  • A specifically assigned family therapist for family support and clinical family sessions.
  • A behavioral aspect of the program with outside activities and rewards for celebrating even the smallest of victories.
Lifeskills South Florida two women sitting by the pool with their feet in talking and smiling

“Lifeskills has a long history of working with trauma, borderline personality disorders, and other complex conditions, along with clinicians who are extensively trained in DBT. We’ve seen a growing need for gender-specific programming for these conditions and developed a clinically superior program combined with a safe environment specific for women to maximize their recovery potential.”

- Despina Karfis, PsyD, DBT-Intensively Trained, EMDR-Trained
   Lead Therapist for the Women's Trauma Program

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