Teen Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Teen Dialectical Behavioral TherapyAt Paradigm Treatment Centers, we incorporate Teen Dialectical Behavioral Therapy sessions, as one of our many modalities in our teen mental health and substance abuse treatment programs. Teen Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is an evidence-based treatment, which originated as a treatment for borderline personality disorder and suicidal ideation, but since has been shown to be helpful in treatment of a number of conditions, ranging from Teen Eating Disorders to substance abuse to Mood Disorders such as Teen Anxiety and Teen Depression. The approach behind Teen Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is to help teens to develop an acceptance of themselves and their emotions, as well as awareness and skills to better manage their feelings.

Teen Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is similar to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, in that it aims to teach teens to regulate emotions, in order to gain relief from symptoms. However, whereas CBT is more specifically goal-oriented, Teen Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is more focused on helping teens manage emotion fluctuations. More specifically, Teen Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is based on the premise that teens who experience extreme mood fluctuations are also more sensitive to external stimuli, and experience prolonged reactions thereto. Therefore, when these teens are experiencing agitated mood symptoms, it’s more difficult for them to recover. This is why one focus of Teen DBT sessions is teaching teens coping mechanisms to deal with their mood fluctuations in healthy ways, so that they can gain relief from more steady moods which allow them to feel better and operate more successfully.

Generally speaking, Teen Dialectical Behavioral Therapy focuses on teens’ most severe thoughts and feelings first, such as those connected with Depression, suicidal ideation, and/or thoughts or behaviors of self-harm. Therapists work with teens to identify these potentially dangerous or harmful belief systems or thought patterns, in order to ensure that teens are mentally and physically safe, in their treatment. Then, therapists will continue to work with teens to evaluate and address other thought patterns, feelings, and triggers present, in order to identify more specifically the underlying causes of their current struggles. After teens become aware of their processes and habits, therapists will work with them to then identify and put into action healthy practices to improve these situations.


Paradigm Treatment Centers:

At Paradigm Treatment Centers, each Teen Dialectical Behavioral Treatment plan is individually designed, according to each teen’s unique needs, symptoms, and goals. With this said, there are a number of focuses specific to DBT work, which include Structuring the Environment, Support Strategy, Mindfulness, teaching skills to help teens manage emotions, and the Dialectical philosophy. Structuring the Environment entails the therapists creating a safe, supportive space in which teens feel comfortable opening up, and also includes helping teens to become aware of noticing how their environments affect them and healthy ways to alter stressors of their environments. Support Strategy refers to therapists working with teens to identify and encourage strengths as a way to build a positive self-image. Mindfulness is a meditation-like technique, which teaches teens to notice their emotions and thoughts as they arise, without assigning judgement to them. Therapists also teach teens healthy ways which they can practice noticing their reactions, and practicing ways of managing those reactions, in their interactions. And lastly, the Dialectical Philosophy refers to the somewhat paradoxical teaching of teens learning to accept themselves and their life experience as they are, and yet also maintain hope and effort that they can make positive changes, which will improve their overall quality of life.