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DBT for Adolescents

We offer an Adolescents’ DBT program that follows the curriculum of Alec Miller and Jill Rathus (2007). It is based on the adult program, yet suitably adjusted with regards to the developmental stage of adolescents, including additional skills tailored in order to address the unique challenges of parent-adolescent relationships. Adolescents aged 12-18 may apply to the program. Our program has a duration of 19 weeks and includes the following:

1. Individual therapy

Adolescents in our DBT program attend individual therapy sessions (45-50 minutes) with a registered psychologist from our team on a weekly basis. In these sessions, the adolescents receive support to maintain their motivation in achieving their goals and building lives worth living. Individual therapy focuses on a collaboration between the therapist and adolescent in order to determine which maladaptive behaviors are impeding the adolescent towards their life worth living. The individual sessions also help strengthen the skills taught in the multi-family skills group so as to apply them to their individual goals.

2. Multi-Family Skills group

The Multi-Family Skills group consists of 2-hour weekly meetings attended by the adolescent and at least one parent or caregiver.  These meetings are dedicated to teaching both adolescents and parents/ caregivers the following skills: Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotion Regulation, Interpersonal Effectiveness and Walking the Middle Path). Skills training adopts a psychoeducational approach with a maximum of four adolescents and a minimum of two adolescents, and one parent for each adolescent. Homework is assigned and reviewed each week based on the skills taught. The Multi Family Skills Group is instrumental in increasing teens and their parents’ skillful behavior, guiding both the adolescent and the environment to use and reinforce the use of skills.

3. Adolescent DBT Telephone Skills Coaching & Parent DBT Telephone Skills Coaching

Many times, adolescents may run into difficulty applying skillful behavior while in crisis, either at home or at school. As part of our program, adolescents will have the opportunity to contact their individual therapist via phone, in the event that they have difficulty applying skills during a crisis. Calls will be brief and will focus on helping the adolescent use skills.  The purpose of the phone skills coaching is to help the adolescent strengthen the application of skills in their natural environment.

As with adolescent skills coaching, Parent skills coaching is aimed at strengthening the use of skills in the natural environment. As part of our program, parents may call the Multi-Family skills group leader if they have difficulty applying the skills taught during crises that may occur. Calls will be brief and focus on the effective use of skills by the parent or caregiver.

4. Consultation Team meetings

Our team is dedicated to helping clients build lives worth living. In line with this, our team of therapists meets for 1.5 hours each week. These consultation team meetings serve to enhance therapists’ motivation and enable us to continue to offer DBT services in an effective manner.

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