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What Is Teen Dialectical Behavior Therapy Used For?

Two people talking about what dialectical behavior therapy is used for in mental health treatment

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is one of the most widely used forms of modern psychotherapy. It relies on a unique dialogue process to promote healthier day-to-day thoughts, emotional processes, and behaviors. But what is dialectical behavior therapy used for, specifically?

DBT frequently forms a part of adult mental health care. It can be equally important in the treatment of teen mental health issues. However, the goals of teen DBT can differ significantly from therapy for adults. Awareness of these goals makes it easier to see the benefits of effective treatment.

What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy’s Meaning and Definition?

What defines DBT? First, the therapy is a subtype of an approach called cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). The general goals of all forms of CBT include:

  • Demonstrating how thought, emotion, and behavior interact
  • Identifying ways of thinking, reacting, and behaving that decrease well-being
  • Creating new habits that break old patterns and improve well-being

DBT has its unique take on reaching these goals. Specifically, dialectical behavior therapy’s meaning is rooted in a dialogue between two things. The first of these things is acceptance of the reality of current mental health issues. To counterbalance this acceptance, DBT promotes change and improvement.

What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy Used for in Teen Mental Health Care?

What is DBT therapy used for in the context of helping teenagers? As a rule, it focuses on the issues most likely to affect adolescents. These issues include such things as:

  • Disruptive or impulsive behavior
  • Frequent changes in mood
  • Family conflicts
  • Conflicts with friends and other age peers
  • Poor anger control
  • Lack of adequate coping skills

In addition, dialectical behavior therapy is used to treat specific mental illnesses. The list of these illnesses includes anxiety disorders, PTSD, and depression. It also includes eating disorders. In addition, DBT can help your teen deal with severe drug or alcohol problems.

What Is DBT Therapy’s Focus in Treatment?

Like all forms of CBT, dialectical behavior therapy aims to provide practical, real-life benefits. It does so by teaching your teen several vital skills. These skills help set the stage for improved mental well-being.

The therapy starts by helping your child become more mindful of their thoughts and feelings. The goal is not judgment or critique. Instead, the focus is on acceptance and awareness. DBT also helps your teen learn how to tolerate distressing emotional states. This is crucial since the urge to escape these states is often the source of harmful behavior.

The therapy then moves on to its next stage. Here the goal is to improve the ability to recognize and manage various emotions as they arise. This is essential for everyday emotional control.

DBT also teaches your child how to communicate with others more effectively. There are two aspects to achieving this goal. The first is learning how to speak openly and honestly. The second is learning how to do these things while still treating others with respect. Another crucial DBT skill is developing improved self-awareness. At the same time, the therapy promotes awareness of other people’s points of view. It also focuses on improving your teen’s problem-solving skills.

Learn What Dialectical Behavior Therapy Is Used for in Colorado at Imagine Fort Collins

Have more questions about what dialectical behavior therapy is used for in teen mental health programs? Consult the therapy specialists at Imagine Fort Collins. We’re happy to explain the many ways in which your child can potentially benefit from DBT.

Imagine Fort Collins features a comprehensive teen DBT program. With help from this program, your child can recover from the most common mental health issues. That includes any overlapping problems with drug or alcohol addiction. Contact Imagine Fort Collins today at 888.291.2309 or fill out our brief online message form for more information.