Parents Guide to Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Teens

The dialectic behavior (DBT) therapy has more exposure because parents and therapists recognize the extraordinary value in helping adolescents with emotional dysregulation, self-destructive behavior, suicide ideas, and/or other behavioral problems.

If your child counselor or doctor recommends DBT treatment, know that providing DBT for teens can be a gift that changes life for both of you. Read on to find out what DBT is, how it can help your teenagers, and what different ways can be given.

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What is DBT?

DBT is a structured and skill-based therapy that helps people live “a life worth living. This means that the trained DBT therapist teaches the patient the certain skills they need to accomplish their goals and reduce behaviors that get in the way of achieving these goals.

There are five modules of Dialectical Behavior Therapy skills for adolescents:

  • Navigating up-and-down emotions (in DBT, this is called emotion regulation)
  • Managing relationships appropriately (interpersonal effectiveness)
  • Tolerating difficult emotions safely and reduce suffering through reality acceptance (distress tolerance)
  • Increasing one’s awareness and focus in the present moment (core mindfulness)
  • Finding a balance between two extremes (walking the middle path)

These skills are core pillars of dialectic behavior therapy, and they are used during your teen's individual session with their therapists, group sessions, and one-one coaching during the crisis.