Dialectical Behavior Therapy: Teens and Young Adults
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a state-of-the-art, evidence-based form of cognitive behavioral therapy for teenagers and adults who experience significant trouble managing their emotions, thoughts and behaviors.
In order to more effectively manage intense emotions that can lead to impulsive decision-making and problematic behaviors, patients participating in DBT learn how to practice mindfulness — fully being present in the moment and focusing on one thing at a time, without judgment — along with new problem-solving skills. When mindful awareness is combined with effective problem-solving skills, sensitive and emotionally reactive teenagers and young adults have the tools to respond flexibly to difficult and stressful life experiences.
This approach has helped teenagers and young adults who struggle with any or all of the following:
Frequent mood swings
Self-injurious and suicidal behaviors
Depression and anxiety
Family and peer conflict
Eating disordered behaviors
Drug or alcohol abuse
Poor coping skills
Considerable research has been conducted on DBT for adolescents and adults, and multiple randomized controlled research trials have demonstrated its effectiveness. At the Child Mind Institute, we treat many young people who struggle with emotional ups and downs and assist families who want to help their children manage these intense emotional fluctuations. DBT is an excellent option for those who want a comprehensive treatment that teaches emotional, behavioral and cognitive skills.
DBT Skills Training
Understanding, managing and regulating emotions
Tolerating distress and crises without making problems bigger
Maintaining satisfying relationships with others
Increasing self-awareness, expanding one’s ability to recognize alternative points of view and managing emotional situations
Increasing problem-solving skills, learning validation and effectively managing differences of opinion with family members
Current research suggests that DBT may also be effective for children and preadolescents (aged 8 – 13) who struggle with intense emotions, disruptive behaviors, and challenging relationships.
Our team of expert clinical psychologists and board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrists encourages preteens, teenagers and young adults to healthfully cope with painful emotions and take action towards positive self-care.
DBT Treatment Approach and Services
All new patients to the Child Mind Institute will be given a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation by one of our team clinicians, in part to determine if DBT is the best therapeutic intervention for them. Full diagnostic feedback and treatment recommendations will be given as part of the evaluation. Current patients will participate in consultation for the same purpose.
Participants in the adolescent and young adult DBT programs agree to commit to the following core components for 5 months of treatment, with an option to repeat. Participants in the preadolescent DBT program agree to commit to the following core components for 7 months of treatment, with an option to repeat.
Teens and parents/caregivers attend group together to learn core DBT skills. Parents learn how to more effectively communicate with their children, enhance their own coping skills and empower their child to use DBT skills to deal with problems.
Young Adult Skills Group
Weekly for 90 minutes
Young adults attend groups with peers who experience similar concerns. Separate parent consultation is available for young adults who would like support from their parents in the treatment process.
Graduate Group for Adolescents
Teens who have completed the Multifamily Skills Group are eligible to participate in this weekly group aimed at helping them continue to practice their DBT skills while receiving consultation and support from peers.
DBT Individual Therapy
Meeting 1 – 2 sessions each week, participants work on specific problem behaviors and apply techniques learned in the skills group to their goals.
Skills Coaching by Phone
Available to help participants apply skills at the moment they are needed before high-risk behaviors occur.
Our clinicians meet regularly as a consultation team to support one another and think creatively about the best ways to help teens and their families.
DBT Parent Management Training
Parents have the opportunity to work on specific problem behaviors and parenting goals by combining techniques learned in the skills group with parent management training. Offered on an as needed basis.