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Adolescent Dialectical Behavior Therapy

an adolescent woman sits on a couch talking to her therapist in the womans dialectical behavior therapy program Transitioning from childhood to adulthood is among the most challenging times in a person’s life. For adolescents struggling with negative feelings, substance use, suicidal ideation, or mental health conditions, a dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) program can help.

Massachusetts Center for Adolescent Wellness provides a dialectical behavior therapy program to help adolescents with their mental health. DBT can potentially make a life-changing, positive impact on teens struggling with various issues. Many families have found that DBT is particularly helpful in treating different kinds of mental health disorders. To learn more about adolescent therapy programs, call us at 855.940.6229.

What Is a Dialectical Behavior Therapy Program?

DBT programs are designed to stop patients from hurting themselves or acting on distressing feelings by teaching healthy coping skills. This method teaches them better, safer ways to manage their emotions. It’s a comprehensive therapy that includes the family in the treatment process.

First developed in the 1970s, a dialectical behavior therapy program combines mindfulness and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) treatments. Mental health professionals use this therapy to manage strong emotions that can lead to a lack of stability. DBT treatment is an evidence-based approach to managing a person’s mental health and emotional dysregulation.

Benefits of DBT for Teens

Through mindfulness, patients learn to accept that they’re doing the best they can, discovering and accepting their feelings as reality instead of pushing them away. Through DBT, teens learn how to use their rational thoughts to change those feelings before they can begin to dominate the mind and turn into potentially destructive actions.

The goal of behavioral therapists and teenagers during DBT is to build a growth mindset in which patients can actively and rationally confront their fears. They learn to manage troubling impulses by combating them before they become harmful.

What Can DBT Treat in Adolescents?

At MCAW, we understand that adolescence is a critical time of physical and emotional development. Our team consists of experienced mental health professionals specializing in treating adolescents, ensuring that each patient receives individualized care tailored to their needs.

We also prioritize family involvement in the treatment process, recognizing the crucial role that family support plays in an adolescent’s well-being. Through education and therapy for both adolescents and their families, we aim to strengthen relationships and create a supportive environment for long-term recovery.

Our team is here to answer any questions about our therapeutic services. If your loved one is struggling with mental or behavioral health concerns, there is hope. We work with families to rebuild trust and relationships. The first step towards recovery is seeking help. At MCAW, we are here to guide you through the treatment process and find a plan that supports your adolescent’s needs.

What Skills Does DBT Teach Adolescent Patients?

The nuances of dialectical behavior therapy can differ based on the individual situation and the cause of the treatment.

The following skills tend to build on each other, ultimately creating a better system for the teen patient and their support system to acknowledge potentially harmful emotions. While also actively addressing them and seeking out alternative means of action:

Mindfulness Skills

These involve understanding and knowing how to spot the signs of potentially harmful emotions.

Emotional Regulation and Distress Tolerance Skills

These focus on better protecting oneself from either end of the extreme emotional spectrum. This includes taking care of one’s body by eating and sleeping well, avoiding drugs, and strategies to manage emotional crises without escalation. It also includes consciously controlling urges that could harm yourself and others.

Interpersonal Skills

These can help adolescents better approach situations where interactions with others may trigger emotional extremes. This includes both in-the-moment tactics to approach these interactions and more overarching skills to build healthier relationships with others.

Self-Awareness and Empathy Skills

These focus on building the ability to recognize and validate the viewpoints of others, compromise and negotiate, and work together to manage emotional situations. These skills focus on moving away from the “right” and “wrong” mindset, which creates an environment where multiple viewpoints can be valid.

Problem-Solving Skills

These focus on tactics and strategies to manage differences of opinion or other situations that could otherwise escalate.

How Is DBT for Adolescents Typically Structured?

DBT requires complete buy-in from the patient and the entire family system. Therefore, therapy sessions typically consist of a few essential components that a patient walks through:

  • Evaluation involves a medical professional determining that the patient and symptoms in question are a good fit for DBT.
  • In individual therapy, the patient learns basic skills in a safe and personal environment.
  • In family and group therapy, the patient and parents learn to work through negative emotions and approach potentially triggering interactions.

Typically, these components take between four and six months, depending on the severity of the issue. However, patients and families have the option to continue if ongoing services seem to be beneficial.

Reach Out to Massachusetts Center for Adolescent Wellness to Enroll Your Child into Our Dialectical Behavior Therapy Program in Massachusetts

Seeking mental health treatment for your adolescent child can be challenging. Professional support and guidance can be beneficial, especially if their behavior threatens their well-being or those around them. Massachusetts Center for Adolescent Wellness approaches mental and behavioral health concerns holistically.

Our treatment plans are designed to give adolescents the tools they need to manage their well-being. We offer a range of treatment options for teens and their families, including family therapy and other treatments for depression and anxiety. Contact us today at 855.940.6229 to learn more about how DBT can help your teen live a happier and healthier life.

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