You may have seen our posting about our Summer Adolescent DBT group. We often use acronyms in the psych and education world, so it's possible that you have heard of DBT but are not sure what it means. DBT stands for Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. It was first developed by Marsha Linehan to work with adults with borderline personality disorder (BPD). People with BPD struggle to manage interpersonal relationships and often have suicidal thoughts. DBT uses empirically supported behavior therapy protocols to target anxiety, depression, thoughts of self-harm, social skills deficits, and emotional dysregulation.
Our group is geared towards adolescents who struggle with anxiety, withdrawal from peers, suicidal thoughts, depression, social skills deficits, and significant mood swings. In order to teach adolescents how to cope, we utilize the five core skills taught in DBT: Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Walking the Middle Path, Emotion Regulation, and Distress Tolerance. Our groups begin with a brief mindfulness exercise and a review of homework from the previous session. We then teach skills by providing examples and leading a discussion. In order to generate interest, we do a variety of activities including creating a toolbox of skills, practicing skills with partners, and completing worksheets geared towards adolescents. Homework is assigned weekly so that participants can practice each skill during their everyday life.
In order to fully implement DBT skills into their lives, it is essential that parents and caregivers also understand the key components of DBT. Therefore, we will offer two parent workshops as part of the DBT class. One parent session will meet during the first week of the program, and the second will meet towards the end. Questions about DBT can be answered, and copies of the DBT homework will be provided.
Please contact us today if you think DBT might be useful for your son or daughter. We can only accept up to 8 adolescents, so spots may fill up quickly!
Kate McGravey, Psy.D. is one of the co-founders of Success Educational Associates. She is a school psychologist who specializes in working with children and adolescents who have special needs.