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