Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is highly effective in the treatment of numerous disorders in adolescents. These include: Borderline Personality Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, eating disorders, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and other self-destructive and behavioral issues. These disorders can greatly impact the ability of a teenager to function, jeopardize school performance, and adversely affect personal relationships. At the Delray Center for Healing, our DBT Teen Skills Group helps clients learn and apply productive coping skills. These skills improve emotional regulation and replace unhealthy coping and defense mechanisms.
The DBT Teen Skills Group structure has been adapted specifically to the needs of teenagers, in order to optimize treatment outcomes. Just like in the adult version, this is a highly structured group and clients must commit to the full schedule of sessions in order successfully complete the therapy.
Participants in the DBT Teen Skills Group will master four skill sets:
Key to the implementation of DBT is the mastery of four skill-sets, also know as modules. Participants in DBT work through all four modules in a specific order. Skills are initially learned in individual skills training sessions with a DBT therapist, and then practiced in the group setting. Between individual and group therapy, the Delray Center’s DBT program not only covers all four modules, but also satisfies all five function for comprehensive DBT as outlined by the Linehan Institute.
Striving to be mindful is no easy goal. Being mindful means being self-aware of one’s feelings, behaviors, thoughts and urges. This is something that is difficult for all teenagers, especially those struggling with mental health issues. Thankfully, DBT lays out actionable skills to improving mindfulness. Group members learn to observe, describe and participate in thoughts, sensations, emotions and external phenomena without judging these experiences as “good” or “bad”. Mindfulness skills are essential to successful advancement in the DBT Teen program.
Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills
Adolescents suffering from a mental health disorder often have trouble establishing and maintaining relationships. Teens with disorders like OCD, Bipolar or Borderline Personality Disorder often develop turbulent and unstable personal relations that cause them greater sadness or anxiety over time. In the teen DBT skills group, participants learn to successfully assert their needs and manage conflict in their relationships. This is possible through learning and practicing highly effective interpersonal skills, easily explained in this module.
Emotion Regulation Skills
Learning to process and regulate emotions in a healthy and constructive fashion is vital to reducing mental health symptoms and improving quality of life. Emotional regulation skills help participants identify and manage emotional reactions in healthy and adaptive ways. The tools learned in this module help reduce the negative emotional surge that may result from an adverse event. By teaching clients to essentially “walk through” emotional dysreguluation, DBT helps to replac unhealthy coping mechanisms with healthy ones.
Distress Tolerance Skills
One major hurdle for most teenagers with mental health diagnoses is handling and processing distress and emotional upheaval. In Dialectical Behavior Therapy, learning to accept emotional turmoil is an integral component of the program. Group members learn ways to accept and tolerate distress without resorting to negative or destructive behaviors. Skills for improve distress tolerance are laid out in a manner that is easy to both learn and apply in everyday situations.
Finally, DBT Teen Skills Group is a 2-hour group, facilitated by two intensively trained DBT therapists. The curriculum is organized into a number of modules that run over the course of 16 weeks. These groups are usually in the evenings, at 6:00PM, to fit into most academic schedules.
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Dr. Rodriguez founded the Delray Center in 2003 and built it on a foundation of core clinical, professional, and ethical principles that are adhered to still to this day. Dr. Rodriguez founded the Delray Center in 2003 and built it on a foundation of core clinical, professional, and ethical principles that are adhered to still to this day.