Adolescent DBT Therapy


Our Adolescent DBT Program (ages 13-18)
The adolescent program is a researched adaptation of the Dialectic Behavior Therapy program developed by Marsha Linehan, Ph. D. Our program is designed to focus on adolescents who have difficulty managing their emotions. It is aimed at changing the typical behavior patterns of emotionally challenged adolescents such as suicidal ideation, self-injury and other self-destructive behaviors, defiance, and self esteem issues. DBT works on the premise that clients are doing the best they can to cope and they are using coping skills that worked in the past but are no longer effective. DBT assumes that the adolescent wants to feel better and have a better quality of life. This combination of cognitive and behavioral therapy teaches the adolescent to control emotions by developing a sense of self-acceptance. 

All of the normal modes of the therapy are required:
- Individual DBT Therapy (each adolescent must be engaged with a therapist who is part of a DBT Consultation Team.)
- Skills Training Group
- Telephone coaching to the client
- DBT Consultation to the therapist- Parent Group

The skills training group is approximately 6 months long. The groups meet for 1.5 hours once a week. Skills training groups are semi-open with admission occurring at the beginning of each skills unit. The skills group consists of 5 sets of behavioral skills.
- Core Mindfulness (this is a two week unit that is repeated at the beginning of each of the other 3 units.) 
- Distress Tolerance Unit
- Emotion Regulation Unit
- Interpersonal Effectiveness Unit
- Finding the Middle Path Unit - incorporated throughout the other units

Skills Group Options
Option 1:  Mondays 2:30-4:00pm
Option 2:  Mondays 4:00-5:30pm
Option 3:  Tuesdays 3:00-4:30pm

Parent/Caregiver Requirement
Parents and family play an important role in helping clients change their behavioral patterns. We have discovered that the adolescents we work with have the best results and show improvement faster when their parents are as involved in the process as their child. Although your child’s behaviors are often what brought them into our program, the family system as a whole has been affected and may need to learn how to change certain things together in order for things to improve. We understand this is a big commitment for families but hope you will see it as an investment in your family’s future. 

Parents are required to attend a weekly parent group the entire 6 months that your child is in our program. See the parent group options below. Before your child can enter the program you must commit to one of these options and let your child’s therapist know which group you will attend. 

Parent Group Options
Option 1: Mondays 3:30-4:45pm
Option 2: Mondays 5:30-7:00pm
Option 3: Thursdays 5:30-7:00pm
This group focuses on teaching the skills to parents that their children are learning in skills group as well as offering support. The group will have a check in time, an exercise in mindfulness and the facilitators will offer skills coaching on how to deal with issues brought up during group discussion. This group is where parents will get support in learning ways to respond to their child in ways that may help their child change their ineffective behaviors. In DBT, we believe consultation to the client is what helps clients succeed and learn to navigate their environments both in the immediate and long-term. What this means, is that your child’s therapist will have very little communication with you as parents, unless this communication happens with your child present. The idea is to coach the client on how to communicate effectively with others in their environment and the therapist will help them learn to do this rather than communicate to others for the client. Parents will be able to utilize the facilitator of the parent groups to get support and feedback from rather than from their child’s therapist.

For more information on our Adolescent DBT Program and what Adolescent DBT is, please watch the videos below:


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