The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Group for teens and families meets weekly on Mondays from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. at the Child Study Center. The caregiver must attend with the teen, and plan to participate for six months to a year.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based treatment designed to help teens (ages 13-17) who experience significant difficulty managing their thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and family conflict. Teens and their caregiver(s) participate in a weekly multifamily group to learn skills.
DBT has helped teens with any or all of the following:
- Mood disturbances (e.g., frequent mood swings, depression, anxiety, anger)
- Impulsive, disruptive, and risky behavior (e.g., substance use, sexual behavior, disordered eating)
- Self-injury and/or suicidal thoughts and behaviors
- Polarized or extreme thinking patterns
- Poor perspective taking
- Family and peer conflict
- Identity confusion
Teens and their caregiver(s) learn skills in the following modules:
- Mindfulness: focusing the mind, directing attention, and identifying and describing internal experiences without judgement, which helps reduce reactivity to situations and develop a sense of self and personal goals
- Distress Tolerance: decreasing impulsivity by learning how to tolerate painful emotions without making the situation worse or engaging in problematic or risky behavior
- Walking the Middle Path: reducing extreme and non-balanced thinking and behavior; strengthening perspective-taking, methods to change behavior, and validation
- Emotion Regulation: reducing emotional sensitivity, increasing positive moods, reducing vulnerability to intense emotions, and identifying and using emotional experiences effectively
- Interpersonal Effectiveness: addressing difficulties in maintaining consistent and rewarding relationships; learning how to effectively ask for what you want, how to say no and maintain boundaries, and strengthen self-respect in the face of external pressures
DBT Skills Group is only one aspect of a comprehensive DBT treatment program. Research does show participating in DBT Skills Group only is associated with improvement in mental health symptoms.
For general inquiries and referrals, contact the clinic at CSCDBT@uams.edu.