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What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

a teen listens to a therapist answer what is dialectical behavior therapy?

Helping your teen when they are experiencing mental health symptoms can be challenging. Professional help from a licensed treatment center can provide the tools and support your teen’s needs. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based treatment for teens that can help manage their symptoms and build healthy coping skills. DBT offers a highly structured approach to therapy, focusing on teaching skills like acceptance, mindfulness, and emotion regulation. But what is dialectical behavior therapy, exactly?

Imagine Omaha offers teen mental health treatment in Nebraska. Our dialectical behavior treatment program is geared toward teens between 12 and 18 who don’t need residential support to manage their mental health. We provide a safe, supportive environment for teens to practice and hone their skills in acceptance, mindfulness, emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance, and more. Find help for your teen today by calling 888.306.2681.

What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

DBT is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that was originally developed to treat individuals with borderline personality disorder. However, it has since been adapted for many other mental health conditions. DBT focuses on the concept of mindfulness, or being attentive to the present moment. It also teaches skills to control intense emotions, reduce self-destructive behaviors, and improve relationships.

Common Mental Health Conditions Treated with DBT

While DBT was initially designed to help those with borderline personality disorder, its success has led to its application in treating a variety of mental health conditions. These include:

  • Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa
  • Substance use disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Self-harm behaviors

If your teen is struggling with their mental health, DBT may help. Even if they have not been diagnosed with one of the conditions mentioned above, finding professional support can be the resource needed to help your teen.

How Can DBT Help Mental Health?

DBT equips teens with practical skills to manage painful emotions and navigate relationships more effectively. Here’s how:

  • Mindfulness – This is the practice of being fully aware and present in this one moment. It’s about experiencing one’s thoughts and feelings without judging them.
  • Distress tolerance – High-stress situations can often lead to impulsive reactions. DBT teaches different techniques to calm oneself down in such situations.
  • Emotion regulation – This involves understanding and naming emotions, learning to express current feelings, and assessing the obstacles to changing emotions.
  • Interpersonal effectiveness – DBT helps individuals to become more assertive in a relationship, allowing them to express their needs and boundaries effectively.

These are just a few examples of the skills taught in DBT. Through dialectical behavior therapy, teens learn to become mindful of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, allowing them to achieve better emotional regulation.

How to Find the Right DBT Program

Finding the right DBT program requires careful consideration. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Qualified therapists – Ensure the program has experienced and well-trained therapists who specialize in DBT.
  • Comprehensive approach – DBT should include individual therapy, group skills training, phone coaching, and therapist consultation.
  • Accessibility – Consider the availability of the program. Some offer intensive outpatient programs, while others provide residential treatment.
  • Adaptability – The program should be able to tailor the therapy to the unique needs of your teen.

Remember, the journey to mental wellness is a marathon, not a sprint. DBT can equip teens with the necessary tools to understand, manage, and navigate their emotions better. It’s about creating a life worth living and enjoying.

Find Help for Your Teen in the DBT Program at Imagine Omaha

If your teen is struggling with their mental health, the DBT program at Imagine Omaha can help. Complete our online form or call 888.306.2681 today to schedule a consultation.