What The Heck Is DBT and Why Will It Help My Teen?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a comprehensive treatment model that offers hope for teens who have not seen improvement in other therapies. It is based on actionable skills and focuses on problem solving and acceptance-based strategies. DBT is led by a DBT-Certified therapist who is intensively trained by Behavior Tech.

At Mindful Healing, LLC our DBT program for adolescents involves group skills training focused on helping teens learn to develop skills to feel in control of their emotions rather than their emotions being in control of them. Many teens are also involved in individual DBT and/or parent coaching to assist in the development of skills and transference to the home and school environments.

Currently, DBT is used to treat teens with anything from school avoidance to suicidality. It is considered the gold standard of evidence based treatment for emotion regulation in teens.

What Skills Does DBT Teach?

DBT is taught through our open enrollment co-ed 26-week DBT skills group. Group has a maximum of 8 clients to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to fully engage. When you sign-up for DBT we ask that you make the commitment to attend for a minimum of 12-weeks to give your teen ample time to develop skills and begin to see progress.

DBT skills training is very structured; for adolescents, it consists of five modules.

Mindfulness skills: Teaches teens how to focus the mind and to observe and describe what they are feeling and thinking in the moment without judgement. These skills can help teens reduce reactivity to painful thoughts and emotions.

Distress Tolerance: Learning how to accept oneself and the situation. More specifically, learning to tolerate a crisis andbeing able to recognize urges to do things that would be ineffective, such self-harm, without acting on them.

Emotion Regulation: Addresses emotional sensitivity, mood changes, and other dysregulated moods such as depression, anxiety, or anger. Recognizing and coping with negative emotions, and reducing one’s emotional vulnerability by increasing positive life experiences.

Interpersonal Effectiveness: It’s often relationships with others that are the triggers for self-destructive behaviors in teens. Interpersonal effectiveness skills teach adolescents how to engage more effectively with others, and enable them to feel more supported by others.

Middle Path: Teaches teens how to shift perspectives and see more than one viewpoint rather than extreme and non-balanced thinking and behaviors. These skills involve learning about how to compromise and negotiate, as well as methods of behavior change, validation and acceptance.

Additional DBT Supports Available At Mindful Healing:

Individual DBT psychotherapy: This is the main way of developing and refining the ability to apply skills taught in DBT skills group to daily life. Individual DBT focuses on helping teens identify personal triggers for behaviors and explore skill based solutions.

Parent Tele-Coaching: Many parents feel unsure of how to approach a particular situation, when or how to set limits, if setting limits will make things better or worse, how to encourage skills use, etc. They are encouraged to contact our online business manager to arrange an individual parent coaching session for assistance in developing their own skills!

Commitment Strategies: “Commitment strategies” are a cornerstone of DBT treatment. Not all adolescents choose to come to therapy. Some are encouraged by parents or friends to seek treatment, and may not be “motivated” initially to attend therapy. Throughout the course of treatment, starting at the initial intake special commitment strategies are used to help adolescents gain a better understanding of their behaviors, and how DBT skills will help them meet their own unique individual goals!

In a nutshell, DBT is a compassionate type of behavior therapy that teaches teens actionable skills to help them learn to live a life they can love! DBT targets the issues that cause distress and teaches skills to deal with them without having to resort to self-defeating behaviors.

 

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