Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Where can you find help when nothing else seems to have helped? It can be discouraging for teens and their parents when they have tried so many things – different types of counseling, maybe medication, possibly even hospitalization – and the teen is still struggling with intense emotions, self-destructive thoughts and actions, or feeling out-of-control.

We can help. Our DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) program offers teens and their parents the skills and support they need to make lasting changes.

When can DBT be helpful?

DBT is often helpful for teens experiencing one or more of the following:

  • Intense emotions or mood changes
  • Self-harm, like cutting and other self-inflicted physical injuries
  • Risky or impulsive behaviors
  • Major, ongoing conflicts in relationships (lots of “drama” with friends, intense conflicts at home)

How is DBT different from “regular” counseling?

  • It is more intensive

Each week teens attend both an individual counseling session and a DBT group. Parents also attend a portion of the DBT group.

  • Support is available, day or night

Teens can call their individual DBT therapist for skills coaching between sessions. Coaching is available 24/7.

  • It is focused on skills

Group and individual sessions help teens learn how to become more aware of their emotions and impulses and use skills to cope with overwhelming emotions or powerful impulses.

  • It offers support to parents

Parenting a teen with intense emotions and high-risk behaviors is challenging, so our DBT program emphasizes parent participation and support.

  • It demands a high level of accountability

As teens receive support, they are expected to actively participate in DBT. This includes rating daily emotions, urges, and behaviors, and demonstrating increasing understanding and use of DBT skills.

  • It is evidence-based

There is strong research demonstrating that DBT works. After completing DBT, teens are more able to cope with intense emotions, build healthy relationships, and make more positive choices.

How can I find out if DBT is the best treatment for my teen?

The first step is for you and your teen to come in for a DBT assessment. To schedule an assessment, call (616) 942-7294 and complete a brief phone intake. During this call, please indicate your interest in DBT and have your insurance information available. (Most insurance is accepted, including Medicaid)

Every teen deals with problems. In many cases, teens can get through tough situations with the support of their family and friends. But sometimes the problems are more serious. Some teens struggle with intense emotions, thoughts about hurting themselves, and feeling out-of-control. For these teens, DBT can help.

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