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What Are the Steps of Dialectical Therapy?

Two people in a dialectical therapy session

Like adults, many teenagers are affected by significant mental health issues. The same holds for problems caused by drug and alcohol use. A psychotherapy program can help your child cope with mental health and substance problems. Today, the options in an effective program may include dialectical therapy. This therapy uses a unique, step-by-step process to help your child recover. An advanced understanding of those steps can help you and your teen prepare and get the most out of treatment. Call 888.291.2309 to learn more about the dialectical therapy program for teens at Imagine Fort Collins in Colorado.

What Is Dialectical Therapy?

Dialectical therapy is a shortened term for dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). It was created a few decades ago as a borderline personality treatment. Over time, therapists and researchers found that it’s also beneficial for a much more comprehensive array of conditions. In the 21st century, the therapy is used to help teens and adults affected by such things as:

  • Binge eating disorder
  • Bulimia
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depressive disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Substance abuse and addiction
  • Cutting and other non-suicidal self-harming behavior
  • Suicidal behavior

Why is DBT helpful in treating so many conditions? Each of these conditions stems from specific common issues. Those issues center on problems coping with extreme, negative emotions.

Steps in Teen Dialectical Therapy

Adolescent dialectical behavior therapy programs for teens differ in some ways from programs for adults. However, the overall process is roughly the same. It begins with what’s known as a pre-assessment. This assessment allows a therapist to determine if DBT suits your child. It also enables you to ask questions and get a more detailed explanation of what to expect.

The next step is actual participation in DBT therapy sessions. Two kinds of sessions are used: group skills training and individual therapy. Group skills training teaches your child how to develop abilities that improve their health and well-being. Individual therapy reinforces this learning process. It also gives your teen time to ask questions and focus on any problems they’re having. In addition, it provides your child’s therapist a chance to offer feedback and encouragement.
All DBT also includes phone coaching. This coaching allows your teen to reach out to their therapist for everyday guidance and support. It also acts as a kind of hotline during moments of crisis.

Skills Training in an Adolescent Dialectical Therapy Program

Skills training in DBT is a step-by-step process. The two sequential stages of therapy are known as acceptance and change. In the acceptance stage, your teen learns how to:

  • Develop greater awareness of their internal and external reality
  • Become more mindful of what’s happening in the current moment
  • Improve their ability to tolerate unpleasant emotions that cause them distress

The second stage of skills training in teen dialectical therapy focuses on two kinds of change. The first area of change is learning how to communicate respectfully and establish personal boundaries. The second area focuses on developing a more remarkable ability to control emotions.

Change and acceptance are always linked in DBT. One without the other won’t provide your child with the actual benefits of the therapy. It is this combined approach that makes DBT unique.

Find Teen Dialectical Therapy in Colorado at Imagine Fort Collins

Want more details on DBT for teenagers? Contact the specialists at Imagine Fort Collins. We’ll provide you with a complete roadmap to the process. We can also explain the therapy’s benefits for specific mental health issues. Imagine Fort Collins features a comprehensive dialectical therapy program for teens. We fully support your child’s recovery process from pre-assessment to phone coaching. For more information on how our customized program can help, contact Imagine Fort Collins today at 888.291.2309. You can also reach us through our online message form.