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DBT Group Therapy for Teens

DBT Group Therapy for Teens

Group of teens walking together after DBT Group Session.

What is DBT?

You’ve probably heard of DBT, but you might not be sure what it is. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is a type of counseling frequently used with teenagers. It works well in group settings and one on one. DBT for adolescents focuses on teaching adolescents skills they can use to tolerate feelings of emotional distress. Emotional distress frequently leads to acting out behaviors such as cutting, suicidal thoughts, promiscuity, anger issues, experimentation with substance abuse, and other impulsive choices. The therapist works on skills ranging from something called radical acceptance (learning to allow events and feelings that simply cannot be changed instead of fighting them) to interpersonal skills that help your teenager get along better with family and friends. This especially works well in a teen group counseling setting.

Why Group Therapy?

At Teen Therapy OC we believe strongly in giving your teen the best chance to take what they learn here in counseling and apply it to their lives. Consequently, the group setting is an amazing chance for your son or daughter to practice using the DBT skills with peers before using them in life. Jazmine, the therapist who leads our DBT group, comments that, “These teens lean on each other for support. They encourage one another to try out their new skills in group to see if they work.” She also notes that teens who learn the DBT skills in a group format seem to integrate them more fully. In other words, because they are helping one another learn them, they take a more vested interest. Teenagers who are the right fit for DBT usually also feel lonely. Because of this, the group setting provides amazing support and compassion.

Does DBT Group Counseling for Teens Work?

It isn’t for everyone of course, but that’s why we screen when you call. Feel free to reach out and let’s chat about it. Right now Jazmine is in the middle of a 5 week DBT group session. So far, it’s been amazing. These young teenagers look forward to each session. They have support from peers. Many of them naturally experience strong emotions, which can be off-putting to friends. As a result, they feel understood in the DBT group setting. At the same time, they are rooting for one another to succeed in better tolerating the strong emotions so they don’t act out as much. Jazmine creates an environment where each group member knows they are welcomed, wanted, and an important piece of each group member’s recovery. This gives each teenager a sense of selfless purpose.

How Do We Get Our Teenager Started?

Your teenager has the potential to grow and thrive using DBT. Your teen has love to give others, and there are peers who will value your son or daughter. Most importantly, your teenager doesn’t need to feel alone as he or she journeys towards improved mental health. To begin in Teen Therapy OC’s group therapy, reach out to us at our Contact Page. We allow new teens to join the DBT group during the first week of each month. We also understand it can be hard to join a new group. Sometimes we suggest an individual session with Jazmine beforehand. However, if together you and Jazmine decide that isn’t necessary for your teenager, know that she is warm, welcoming, and engaging. She carefully selects the teens in the group to make as positive an experience as possible for every teen she sees.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions you have about this post or how it can benefit your teen.

Helping teens grow and families improve connection,
Lauren Goodman, MS, MFT

What Are Benefits of Group Therapy for Teens

What Are Benefits of Group Therapy for Teens

It’s no secret that being a teenager is hard. During this period of time, everything seems to change so rapidly. Hormones are constantly shifting and developing, the body and voice is changing, and suddenly, everything seems so uncertain in life.

There’s drama with friends, crushes develop, and you are now feeling more pressure to succeed in academics and sports to have a bright future. Plus, adding in that teens aren’t always nice to each other, it’s a lot to handle as a teenager.

While we can see childhood mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, or ADHD develop in the early years, the teenage years are when these conditions often really ramp up.

Group therapy has been proven effective in helping teenagers deal with the pressures of growing up and develop lasting coping skills that they will carry into adulthood.

What Is Group Therapy?

Group therapy is a mental health service where people come together, virtually or in person. During these sessions, they will talk about the challenges they are facing. One or more licensed therapists who specialize in child and teen therapy services moderated group therapy sessions for teenagers.

group of people facing away with arms around each other.

Many different types of group therapy services exist for teenagers. These group therapy sessions can be general or focused on specific issues that teens can face. Specialized group therapy sessions can focus on the following:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  • Depression
  • Trauma
  • Social anxiety
  • Grief
  • Chronic pain/illness
  • Weight challenges
  • ADHD
  • …and so much more!

What Are The Benefits of Group Therapy For Teens?

Support From Peers

It’s hard to not feel lonely when you are a teenager. When it feels as if everyone and everything is against you, it can be an isolating experience. You don’t feel like anyone gets you or understands your issues.

Group therapy switches the narrative on this common experience. It can help teens find support from their peers and maybe people they never thought they’d find things in common with. It also helps to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health by recognizing that the struggles we face in life are commonly experienced by all people.

Raises Self-Awareness

One great thing about group therapy for teens is that it raises awareness and compassion towards oneself. We all do it; we look at the issues we face in life and can only see one side: ours. Group therapy raises awareness by giving constructive feedback and differing viewpoints that may not have been realized otherwise.

The experience of sharing your struggles in life can be really empowering. Frequently, we think about what we are facing and feel alone as if we are the only people going through it. While every situation and person is unique, it can be surprising that other teenagers face something similar in their own lives.

It Teaches Social Skills

Group therapy for teenagers is a great way to really focus on healthy communication and conflict resolution. It can teach you how to be less reactive and more thoughtful when you are interacting with other teens or even adults.

You will also learn to read body language and between the lines of what is being said. It can be challenging to do either of those things in the teenage years. These types of communication skills are things that you will carry with you for the rest of your life.

Increases Motivation

Learning that you are not alone with what you are going through can be highly empowering. This empowerment can help you think about your long-term goals and help you to make positive changes. While most people don’t give credit to teens, they do think about the personal goals they would like to reach. Seeing other people reach their goals or strive towards them can be a powerful motivator, no matter your age.

If you want to learn more about group therapy for teens or other mental health services, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Group Therapy for Teens

Group Therapy for Teens

Hooray! We now have in-person group therapy! This has been a long time coming. Many teens benefit from hearing what their peers have to say (when an adult is present to moderate). This is such a nice option to offer for your families because some teens have things to work on in a more social setting, the cost of therapy is lower for group therapy, and sometimes it’s easier to learn from listening to someone else walk through a struggle than to be on the spot about your own struggles.

Helping teens grow and families improve connections,
Lauren Goodman, MS, MFT

Building Solid Friendships

Building Solid Friendships

Having good friends is one of the best parts of adolescence. Photo courtesy of Marin and

Having good friends is one of the best parts of adolescence.
Photo courtesy of Marin and

For some of you, you have had the same core group of friends ever since you started school.  Your group is so tight-knit that hardly anyone new joins and hardly anyone leaves.


There are also some of you who have that one best friend.  You have been best friends as long as you can remember.  You’ve done everything together and even your families are close friends.  You hardly need anyone else.


Then, there are the rest of us.  If you are like I was as an adolescent you have a new “best friend” every few months.  You sort of bounce from group to group.  For a few weeks or even a few months you hang out with one person.  When your activities change, e.g it’s a new sports season, you become really close with someone else.  One of the primary factors in determining how close you are with someone is proximity.  If you are on the same team, or in the same classes, you become really close.  Once your classes change or your season ends, it’s onto someone else.


If you are a little tired of feeling like you’re always starting over at getting close with friends, here are 5 tips I wish I’d known as a teenager.  I think if I had followed these, I would have made lifelong friendships instead of friendships that lasted a few months.


1. Stay in the same extra-cirricular activity.  If you play on a sports team, stick with it.  Stay with the same team.  A lot of people switch their allegiance based on getting onto the best team possible.  However, the majority of you won’t be playing sports in college, and definitely won’t be playing professionally (If you’re the exception to this, then don’t follow this tip).  The point of youth sports is to make really good friends, learn some work-ethic, get exercise and have fun.  If you stay with the same group of girls or guys season after season you’re giving yourself the chance to get close with your teammates.  The same goes for a scouting troop, school club, dance studio, etc.


2. Try and convince your parents to let you bring a friend on a family vacation.  These are the kinds of things that bring you really close to someone.  It’s concentrated, one on one time, having a lot of fun with your friend.  You build memories that create solid friendship.


3.  Work on boundary setting.  Some of you allow yourselves to get in with a group or a certain friend who actually doesn’t treat you very well.  You don’t really think you will be accepted by anyone else so you put up with tons of garbage.  Your “friend” talks behind your back, or makes fun of you in front of others, or is embarrassed to bring you around certain people, or uses you for rides.  This is the kind of person that is really nice to you one on one, but kind of sucks when they are around other teens.  In these cases, you should definitely consider where you need to draw the line.  It’s a little easier to do if you can trust that you can make other friends besides the one who treats you poorly.


4. Talk with your parents about what it means to be a loyal friend.  You can’t change anyone else, but you can work on you.  Are you doing all the things a loyal friend does?  You’re not dating your friend’s ex-girlfriend or boyfriend, are you?  That’s a big no-no in the friendship code.  Do you stand up for your friends if someone says something rude about them?  Do you make plans with a friend and then break them if something better comes along?  Pay attention to your behaviors and make sure you’re doing the right thing to be a loyal and true friend.


5. Lastly, if you want to be close with people, do the little things that matter.  Make sure you text your friends on their birthdays.  Congratulate them when something good happens for them.  Just pay attention to the details because they really matter to people.


Helping teens grow and families improve connection,

Lauren Goodman, MS, MFT