DBT and How it Can Support your Adolescent

adolescent girl in distress

As adolescents grow, so do the intensity of their emotions. And unfortunately, knowing how to respond to emotions isn’t as innate as the emotions themselves. At Decade2Connect, our therapists work with adolescents in the midst of this transition, supporting their growth through active listening, processing present emotions and teaching a variety of coping strategies. One of the core modalities we use is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy.

What is DBT?

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is a therapeutic principle emphasizing the balance between acceptance and change. It teaches individuals to accept themselves and their emotions while simultaneously working towards behavioral changes that promote a healthier and more fulfilling life.

Core Components of DBT: 


Mindfulness: At the heart of DBT is mindfulness practice, which involves paying attention to the present moment without judgment. By taking note of their surroundings, clients learn to observe their thoughts and emotions, as opposed to feeling stuck in them

mom and toddler do yoga
adolescent comforted by therapist

Emotional Regulation: DBT helps children identify and label their emotions accurately. Through skills training, they learn effective strategies to manage intense feelings, such as breathing exercises, self-soothing techniques and problem-solving skills.

Interpersonal Effectiveness: Building and maintaining healthy relationships is crucial for all of us, especially kids. DBT equips them with tools to communicate assertively, set boundaries and navigate conflict constructively.

boys in hallway at school
mom and daughter in bed

Distress Tolerance: Life inevitably brings challenges and DBT teaches kids how to cope during crises without resorting to harmful behaviors. Techniques like self-soothing and self-care teach our participants to manage stress effectively.

How can DBT help your child? 

For children, DBT is particularly transformative as it addresses emotional dysregulation, a common challenge during developmental stages. Some of the benefits include: improved emotional regulation, enhanced interpersonal skills and increased self-confidence. 

boys in hallway at school

It’s especially effective for kids struggling with more complex emotional and behavioral needs. In learning to recognize and respond to emotions, kids ultimately find growth in self-regulation, communication skills and ultimately, the quality of their relationships. 

If you notice your child struggling, DBT might be a valuable form of therapy to try. At Decade2Connect, it’s incorporated into our group-therapy format as we engage kids experientially. DBT is also a valuable tool for many individual therapists. If you’d like to learn more, connect with a member of our team today!

Our Intensive Outpatient Program is in-network with United!