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Benefits of DBT for Teens

It’s rare to find an adolescent who isn’t facing a few hurdles during their teen years as their bodies and brains ready themselves for adulthood. This pivotal developmental stage, however, also leaves them more vulnerable to mental health issues like mood disorders, eating disorders, and substance use issues. 

To give your teen the tools they need to face whatever life throws at them, dialectical behavior therapy therapy (DBT) provides an excellent solution.

At Southlake Counseling, our team of mental health experts has extensive experience using DBT therapy to help teens navigate their transition into adulthood. In fact, our professionals receive their training straight from Dr. Linehan’s Behavioral Tech, LLC, which was created by the psychiatrist who first introduced DBT. 

While our training is top-notch, our team also has years of hands-on experience in implementing successful DBT-based recovery programs, and we can bring this training and experience to your teen.

To give you an idea of what we accomplish with DBT for teens, here’s a quick look at the program and its benefits.

Behind DBT

DBT operates under the assumption that many of our clients’ problems are a result of skills deficits. According to the training institute, “the failure to use effective behavior when it is needed is often a result of not knowing skillful behavior or when or how to use it.”

So in DBT, we aim to improve our clients’ abilities to use behavioral skills and strategies that help regulate their emotions. As you can see by this description, DBT is a technique that’s ideally suited for teens, most of whom haven’t yet developed the skills they need to marshall their emotions.

The four cornerstones of DBT

To help your teen manage their emotions and behaviors, there are four cornerstones of our DBT therapy:

Core mindfulness

A key aspect of DBT is teaching your teen to better control their racing thoughts, and perhaps more importantly, to control their reactions to those thoughts.

Interpersonal effectiveness

The goal of this module is to help your teen to ask for what they need in a way that’s constructive, affirmative, and safe.

Emotion regulation

With emotion regulation, we show your teen how to recognize and sit with their emotions without having them take control.

Distress tolerance

Another way to describe distress tolerance is “being present.” All too often, racing thoughts shoot ahead and create emotions and reactions that are based on what your teen may think might happen. With distress tolerance, we teach your teen to be present in the moment and to keep their focus on the here and now.

The DBT program

When your teen embarks on DBT, we recommend at least an eight-week commitment, though we strongly suggest a 24-week program to really lay the foundation for better mental and emotional health.

We offer DBT therapy on an outpatient basis, and your teen will participate in a weekly individual therapy session with one of our DBT therapists, as well as a weekly skills-training group. In addition to these sessions, your teenager has access to 24-hour phone coaching as needed.

If your teen is struggling, contact one of our offices in Charlotte, Davidson, or Hickory, North Carolina, to learn how DBT therapy can help.

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