Feel better. Think better. Live healthier.

Learn effective skills for greater happiness, improved communication, and emotional resilience. Join us! 


Root to Rise, teaches the skills of Dialectical Behavior Therapy to Adolescents and Young Adults in high school, college, the community and the workplace. 

Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotion Regulation and Interpersonal Effectiveness are powerful life skills. They build greater confidence, improve outlook and lessen anxiety. 

The name Dialectical Behavior Therapy makes the skills sound complicated but they're not. We like to think of DBT as Doing Beautifully Today. 






Why do we teach the skills?

We know that it's  a difficult time to be young, the pressure often feels constant, and it's

difficult to relax because everything feels like a competition. We teach the skills because they reduce pressure and improve quality of life.

We teach the skills because they're effective. The research tells us they improve outlook, mood, and communication, among other things. The Boston Public School System can attest to this. For the past two years they've embraced skills education for the entire school community - faculty, students and staff. Skills education has fostered a more cooperative, mindful and compassionate community.


These Statistics Reflect the Challenges of Young Adult Life


  •  The death rate for youth aged 10 -19 rose by a full 11% percent in 2016, in part due to the opioid epidemic.

  • Teenage suicide rates rose 56% in 2016

  • The percentage of adults having serious thoughts of suicide was highest among adults aged 18 -25.

  •  Housing prices soar in major cities and more individuals and families live in their cars than ever before

  • 23% of children in the US live below the poverty line

  • More children die yearly in the US from childhood abuse and neglect than from all childhood cancers combined

  • 52% of adolescents feel that the media pressures them to change their body

  • 65% of teens are afraid of gaining weight

  • Research shows that untreated depression can be as big a risk factor for congestive heart disease as smoking, high cholesterol and high blood pressure 

  • The highest rates of loneliness are among those aged 16 - 24

  • 20% of those experiencing homelessness in the US are aged 18 and under.

The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to  be.


    -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Meetup Event

By partnering with high schools, colleges and universities, Root to Rise is expanding the use of DBT skills to the larger community. We'll be increasing access to valuable life skills which support resilience, equanimity and nonjudgement. The skills are beneficial to anyone because they teach us how to identify the toxic thoughts, hidden in our neurological blind spots, and to dispose of them.  By doing so.  we improve the emotional air quality -  especially important for adolescents and young adults because brain development continues through the late 20's. They are at greater risk of permanent harm from an atmosphere replete with anxiety and derision. Root to Rise wants to do our part to make everyone breathe a little easier.

While the 50 minute hour and medication are critically important resources for wellness and mental health, they are  out of reach for milliions. High school and college counseling offices are uniformly overwhelmed by growing needs and individuals with private insurance routinely find it difficult to access quality care in a timely way. Root to Rise will meet some of this unmet need by bringing skills education to the community.

The Mission of Root to Rise is to help adolescents and young adults, regardless of socioeconomic background, race, gender, class or religion, to thrive through skills education

The 4 skills of DBT

Emotion Regulation  Skills


We learn how to identify emotions before they feel unruly or overwhelming. We learn about the myths of emotions ie. Being emotional is unprofessional or Being emotional is weak etc. We also learn how to change emotional patterns and notice triggers which signal rote or reactionary responses so we can remain open minded and teachable. We become better at recognizing what is actually happening vs. what we feel should be happening or what we want to be happening. In other words, we learn to find a balance between what we can change and what we can’t. We learn to practice living in Wise Mind, the space between Emotion Mind and Rational Mind. 

Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills


We learn to identify our wants and needs and to communicate them graciously, without apology or anger. We learn to prioritize what needs to be said when. We discern whether it is our turn to listen, share or disengage. We learn to notice the role judgement plays in our communication and how to extract it since it weaken healthy exchange. We also learn we don’t have to attend every fight we’re invited to :)

Mindfulness Skills


We learn to be awake and alive in the moment and to refrain from judgement or criticism of ourselves, others and the moment. We become skilled at identifying the voice of the inner critic and its tendency to ruminate, practice judgement and comparison. We develop a healthy defense from the fictitious voice which spreads discouragement, low mood and anxiety. We learn to practice a kinder voice and by doing so we enhance resilience and peace of mind.


Distress Tolerance


We learn how to pause, to practice restraint of tongue and pen and to manage impulsivity. We learn how to NOT make an already difficult situation, worse. We learn to use healthy distractions when distressed and to use skills like STOP - stop, take a break, observe and proceed mindfully - when we know neither acting out nor imagining catastrophe will help. We learn to stay the course, ride out the storm and remember that life delivers weather of all kinds.


Sarah Murphy, MSW


DBT Skills Education for Adolescents and Young Adults 

 We'll Come to Your High School, College, Community Organization or Workplace


Root to Rise teaches the highly effective skills from Dialectical Behavior Therapy - Emotion

Regulation, Distress Tolerance, Interpersonal Effectiveness and Mindfulness. Most of us

practice judgement and comparison without awareness, to our detriment. The skills help us to recognize and change these habits and employ new ones.

Skill Benefits:


They develop high level social and communication skills - much needed today - and 

elicit greater confidence, focus and enhance comfort with self and others.


They help participants to build a strong community where mutual respect, compassion and citizenship are valued.


They foster a sense of belonging at  a time when too many feel isolated.


They improve mood, outlook, the ability to be flexible and creativity.

They are effective for lowering anxiety, impulsivity and reducing rumination/constant thinking.


They are effectivefor those living with depression, grief, PTSD, OCD, eating disorders, phobias,  AD/HD  and for those in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction.

 Adding Value to Your Life and the Life

of Your Community


Sarah McIsaac Murphy, LCSW, LICSW


Sarah McIsaac Murphy , LCSW, LICSW is an engaging force for good. An Inspiring speaker, Educator and Clinician. She has 23 years of  clinical experience serving countless adults, adolescents, and children. She worked on multidisciplinary teams at some of the country's best teaching hospitals, including Massachusetts General Hospital, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and Brigham and Women's Hospital. Her leadership in patient care and medical team management facilitated culturally and socioeconomically sensitive care to patients and families who often felt overwhelmed by the complexities of Harvard teaching hospitals. 

Sarah also initiated patient and family-centered programming which delivered opportunities for patients and families to meet directly with providers in an effort to ensure patients and families felt well-informed and supported by all of their providers. Surgeons and oncologists alike participated in Sarah's efforts because they saw their patients' anxieties and fears diminish. The programming was effective for all involved. In a word, it empowered patients to ask the questions they needed answers to. Even the painful ones they were afraid to ask. 

For the past nine years, Sarah had a private practice in Medford, Massachusetts. Steps away from Tufts University, where she focused on the care of young adults and middle-aged adults who experienced varying degrees of struggle with depression, anxiety, ADHD, PTSD, Postpartum Depression, Trauma, Grief, Abuse, Eating Disorders, Family-Of-Origin Issues, Addiction, and Recovery. During these years she received extensive training in the skills of Dialectical Behavior Therapy and began a skills group to better support her clients. 

The three year group was successful because it left clients feeling stronger emotionally, better able to articulate their wants and needs and left them feeling more connected to themselves and others. Sarah is eager to bring these skills to the Los Angeles area's adolescents, young  adults, the under served, and to the workplace.


Sarah graduated from St. Paul's School, Concord, NH. in 1984 and received the school medal for outstanding service to the school community. She graduated from Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT. in 1988 with a BA in History and later graduated with a Master's from University of New England School of Social Work, Biddeford, Maine. She completed her 500 Hour Vinyassa Yoga Teacher Training in 2015 through Divine Play Yoga, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.



Root to rise encourages and supports all black lives!


photo by: Tafari Dee


Antonio B, 37

I didn't want to go to group and ended up benefiting from it in many ways. My depression is much better, I isolate less and I’m more patient with myself, my coworkers and with my family. I can also set better limits, say no without guilt and ask for help when I need it. Group has taught me things I am teaching my kids.

Sarah has a huge heart and is so down to earth. She leaves you feeling invincible and what’s better than that?

Brian T, 30

Dear Sarah, Thank you for the group and helping me to see I have a lot to offer. In group you always helped direct the conversations towards compassion and self-validation. Your ability to gently, but forcefully,

make sure we are always fair to ourselves and one another, helped me to grow in ways I didn’t think I could.

Nina L, 44

The skills group was life-changing for me. I’m still in touch with most of the people I got to know. Part of the group’s success was a result of Sarah’s ability to make everyone feel welcome. She ensured that everyone got equal air time, helped us to connect and in the nicest way possible, she kept us in line  which helped a lot - phones 2. Look at one another when speaking 3.Always welcome a new person. As a result, group became a safe and wonderful place. I’m so glad I got the opportunity.

Teddy P, 28

Sarah is an unusual therapist and person because she is 100% authentic. She’s smart, funny and insightful - but best of all, I felt she truly cared about me every time I saw her.

Devon M, 24

I’d been dragged to therapy as a kid and never wanted to go. I still didn’t want to go when I needed to but once I started working with Sarah, I never wanted to miss an appointment.

Carlotta, 27

Sarah’s use of metaphor in teaching  is enormously helpful and provides levity. I never thought

I would have so much fun while dealing with painful issues during early recovery. Pretty amazing!