DBT Can Help Restore Balance for Adolescents Struggling With Disorders and Addictions

DBT can help restore balance for adolescents struggling with Disorders and addictions

Social pressures, exposure to a wider range of emotions and situations, and the challenges of living in a highly connected world can affect adolescents in many ways.

Some adolescents face fewer challenges in their growing years, especially if they have a strong support system.

Others face more challenging situations and can develop mental or physical disorders such as depression, anxiety issues, eating disorders, or addictions.

If your child is struggling or is facing specific individual behavioral challenges, it is only natural that you would want to find ways help them.

If they open up to you, fantastic. But if the lines of communication have gone quiet, dialectical behavior therapy (or DBT) might be the best option for helping your troubled teen.

What is DBT Therapy and How Can It Help My Child?

DBT offers a highly structured approach to help adolescents deal with the pressures and challenges of their growing years.

The therapy is a potent combination of individual cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, assertiveness training, and the four components of DBT which include mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness.

In adolescents, the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which controls personality, behavior, and problem-solving ability, is still developing. Because of this, adolescents don’t always consider the outcomes of their behavior and actions.

They are more vulnerable to intense emotions. And because they haven’t yet developed a clear sense of self, this impacts their problem-solving and decision-making abilities, especially in situations where emotions run high.

Adolescents also tend to be more impulsive and conflicted in their interpersonal relationships. This can leave them confused and unsure about how they should act, talk, or behave in a difficult situation. Often, it is this lack of clarity which drives them towards reckless behavior.

This is where DBT can prove to be highly effective – it helps teens and young adults understand their emotions, develop skills to better manage their emotions, and make specific behavioral changes which can help improve their lives.

Adolescent Issues Treated Using DBT

DBT is a highly effective program for dealing with emotional instability and extreme behavior. The therapy is especially effective in treating teens and young adults who are prone to self-harm and suicidal tendencies.

Some of the common disorders in teens and young adults which can be treated with DBT include the following:

  • Addictions and substance abuse
  • Eating disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Disruptive behavior disorder
  • Depression

DBT uses both individual therapy and group therapy to treat adolescents with multiple problems.

So, while group sessions provide the required skills and space for overcoming specific challenges, individual sessions focus on personal issues and difficulties (emotional distress, addictions, or suicidal tendencies) thereby ensuring the adolescent makes parallel progress in both areas.

Awesome Attributes

DBT can help teens and young adults face the challenges of gaining more control over their emotions while also helping them to acquire the skills they need to navigate through difficult situations.

It can also help adolescents who, because of mental health disorders, may feel alienated from family and friends. 

DBT Therapy at Doorways

Our DBT program focuses on a holistic therapeutic approach to help participants overcome the difficulties and challenges in their lives. We understand the degree of distress can be different for everyone.

At Doorways we use a multi-pronged program which includes:

  • individual cognitive behavioral therapy techniques,
  • group sessions,
  • DBT components,
  • and assertiveness training.

All these components work together to help teens and young adults make necessary behavioral changes in their lives.

If your child or someone close to you is struggling with an addiction, or any kind of mental disorder, please connect with us at Doorways. We can help in identifying the underlying cause for the condition and provide professional counseling and help. You can also give us a call at 602-997-2880.

DBT Skills IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program) for Adolescents ages 13-17

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a wide-ranging, evidence-based, cognitive behavioral treatment that has been shown to be a highly effective model for treating an array of disorders and problems. DBT is based on the theory that emotionally sensitive individuals tend to experience negative feelings more often, making it difficult for them to learn appropriate ways to regulate their emotions; this increases their tendency to engage in maladaptive behaviors to manage those negative feelings.  The goals of DBT skills training are to improve emotion regulation, learn mindfulness, strengthen distress tolerance, and increase interpersonal effectiveness.

DBT Skills IOP Group Phoenix AZ

The DBT Skills IOP Program at Doorways is for males and females, ages 13 to 17. It is open enrollment, which means you may join at any time.

This program is designed specifically for adolescents who are struggling with:

  • Depression/Anxiety
  • Self-Harm/Suicidal Ideation
  • Poor emotion regulation
  • Difficulty establishing/maintaining healthy relationships
  • Substance use

We have two DBT Skills IOPs

  • DOOR is Mon, Wed., and Thurs
  • WAYS is Tues,Wed, and Thurs

DBT Skills IOP includes

  • Use of diary cards/daily check-ins
  • Behavior Chain Analysis (BCA)
  • Skills instruction
  • Experiential activities
  • Goal setting
  • Weekly Parent Group and/or Family Group.

Our IOP groups are contracted with Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, and United Behavioral Healthcare.

For more information about the DBT Skills IOP contact our IOP coordinator at 602-997-2880 or IOP@doorwaysarizona.com.

 

What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy and How Does it Help Teens?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a style of therapy that is influenced by the idea of the balancing of opposites (dialectics). The treatment aims to help the individual hold two seemingly opposing viewpoints on a problem in their mind at once. This promotes balance and avoidance of seeing everything as either black or white. At the heart of DBT is the dialectic that someone can both accept themselves and want to change.

How Can Dialectical Behavior Therapy Help a Troubled Teen?

DBT is a type of therapy that provides teens and young adults with skills to help them cope with painful emotions and lessen conflicts in interpersonal relationships.

DBT consists of skills in the following four areas : .

  • Mindfulness – Teaches teens how to be present in the moment, without judgment.
  • Distress Tolerance Crisis skills that help to delay harmful behaviors or actions. Skills aim to help increase a teen’s ability to tolerate negative emotions, as opposed to trying to escape from them.
  • Emotion Regulation – Provides teens with education on the purpose of emotions as well as skills on how to name/identify, manage and change unwanted emotions.
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness – Gives teens techniques to get their needs met in relationships without sacrificing the relationship or their self-respect. Overall aims to give teens skills to improve relationships and decrease conflict.

When Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy Used?

A type of cognitive-behavioral treatment, DBT was established during the 1980s by Marsha Linehan, Ph.D. to treat people suffering from borderline personality disorder (BPD). (Dr. Linehan founded The Linehan Institute , a non-profit organization which aims to advance mental health by supporting compassionate, scientifically-based treatments.) Teens diagnosed with BPD experience extremely intense emotions that they are unable to manage, especially when they are interacting with family members, friends, or romantic partners.

Other Reasons to Use Dialectical Behavior Therapy

DBT has been found to be helpful in treating a wide range of mental health concerns, including depression and anxiety, self-harm, suicidal thoughts and actions, substance use, eating disorders, mood disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder. DBT treatment is typically offered as a combination of individual therapy and group sessions.

Individual Dialectical Behavior Therapy Sessions

During an individual therapy session, the therapist will work with the teen and family to ensure the teen is safe and teach skills to help the teen decrease and stop engaging in harmful behaviors. The focus of the sessions will be to help the teen increase willingness, apply DBT skills to daily life, and improve the overall quality of life.

Group Dialectical Behavior Therapy Sessions

Group sessions are conducted by a trained DBT therapist. Groups typically have 8-12 members and last anywhere from 1-3 hours. Groups meet anywhere from once to three times per week. Teens can expect to engage in safety planning, learning and practicing skills, and completing mindfulness exercises.

What to Look for in a DBT Therapist

If you think your teen or young adult could be helped by DBT, you need to seek out a therapist who has been trained in this kind of therapy. It’s also important to find a therapist with whom your teen feels comfortable working. Doorways specializes in DBT and will focus on building an alliance with your teen to help them lead a happier life. Set up an appointment for a consultation with us today.