Dialectical Behavior Treatment for Adolescents
Adolescence is a formative period of intellectual, social, and emotional growth. Given the mounting responsibilities with which today’s youth are confronted, it is necessary that adolescents learn ways to prioritize their mental health in addition to other obligations. If your child is between ages 11 and 18 and experiencing self-defeating thoughts, difficulty controlling emotions, problems with friends or family, mood swings, or problematic behaviors that impair functioning at school or in the home, we recommend pursuing a consultation for our comprehensive Adolescent Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) program.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy for Adolescents
DBT for adolescents was developed by Dr. Alec Miller, Dr. Jill Rathus, and Dr. Marsha Linehan. Both staff psychologists on the Adolescent DBT team at AICT were intensively trained and mentored by Dr. Miller. This evidence-based approach is the gold standard of treatment for individuals suffering from emotion dysregulation, identity confusion, interpersonal difficulties, impulsivity, risky behaviors, and teen-parent conflict. AICT’s comprehensive Adolescent DBT program incorporates emotion regulation skills, distress tolerance skills, interpersonal effectiveness skills, parent-teen problem-solving skills, and mindfulness skills for adolescents requiring more comprehensive treatment than standard Cognitive Behavioral therapy (CBT).
DBT is particularly effective for those adolescents not benefitting from standard treatment. Our program is best suited to adolescents struggling with one or more of the following:
- Difficulty Regulating Emotions
- Intense Anxiety, Depression, and/or Anger
- Adolescent/Parent/Family Dilemmas
- Substance Abuse
- Eating Disorders
- Relationship Conflicts
- Confusion about Identity
Individual DBT for Adolescents
DBT Adolescent and Multi-Family Skills Training Group
Adolescents and their parents attend a 90 minute weekly skills group for 16 weeks. The format is designed to teach adolescents and their parents a new and effective skill set organized in the following five modules: (1) Mindfulness, (2) Emotion Regulation, (3) Distress Tolerance, (4) Interpersonal Effectiveness, and (5) Walking the Middle Path. This group helps adolescents to replace problem behaviors with skillful ones and helps parents to understand and effectively help their adolescent become more adaptive in managing day to day emotions and behaviors. The 16-week group, which is concurrent with individual therapy, is a 4 month commitment. Both the adolescent and parent(s) are required to attend. New families will be invited to join the group when each new skill module is introduced, which occurs every 4-5 weeks.
Can my adolescent participate in the group without attending individual therapy?
Unlike the CBT program, the DBT program requires attendance in both individual and group sessions for the 16 week period.
What if my adolescent is currently in an inpatient facility or partial hospitalization? How do we make the transition to outpatient services?
Clients can enter into the Adolescent DBT Program as part of their discharge plan following hospitalizations depending on the hospital’s recommendations and goodness of fit. Given the uniqueness of each case, it is best to speak directly with Dr. Horowitz about your adolescent’s circumstance to see if this is the appropriate level of care at this time.
What are other problems that are addressed in individual and group DBT for adolescents?
Other topics addressed in treatment include but are not limited to the following: poor self-image, peer pressure/bullying, trichotillomania, social isolation, school refusal, self-punishing behaviors, emotional numbness and depression, academic difficulties resulting from emotional instability, romantic relationships, divorce, and sibling rivalry.
For additional questions or to schedule a consultation for DBT, please contact Dr. Melissa Horowitz at (212) 308-2440 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Melissa D. Horowitz, Psy.D., Director of Eating Disorders and Weight Management Program, Clinician, received her doctoral degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. She is a New York State licensed psychologist with extensive experience in cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), social problem-solving, motivational interviewing and mindfulness-based approaches. She works primarily with adolescents, adults, couples and families. Dr. Horowitz specializes in the treatment of eating disorders and body image concerns in both men and woman. She also treats and specializes in mood and anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety, social anxiety, separation anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder and phobias. Additional areas of expertise include body dysmorphic disorder, personality disorders, trichotillomania, substance abuse and chronic health issues. Dr. Horowitz has been intensively trained in working with adolescents and adults struggling with low frustration tolerance, impulsivity, poor problem-solving skills, interpersonal conflicts and self-injury. Dr. Horowitz understands the need for a structured and supportive environment when addressing personal challenges that arise during different life stages, and the effects they may have on one’s education, career, family, romantic relationships and health. Dr. Horowitz provides supervision and presents on topics relating to CBT and DBT