If you happen to have a child that is exhibiting some behavior problems more than likely you’ve already been told about CBT and Mindfulness. These are two different kinds of approaches to try and help children that are suffering from anything depression to testing anxiety. However, there is now another therapy that seems to be quite promising for children with behavior problems. This therapy is called Dialectical Behavior Therapy or DBT.
DBT is a type of therapy that is a very structured and intense program that can easily be adapted for children, especially adolescents that high emotional issues that include suicidal thoughts and self-harm.
DBT Works With Two Things at the Same Time
DBT is the type of therapy that actually works with dealing with two different things at the same time. This would be for clients to accept their feelings, which is tied to mindfulness and to learn how to use their thinking to change their feelings, which is CBT. Basically, it teaches clients to realize they are doing the best they can at the moment while also realizing that they need to do better to improve their lives.
DBT and How It Works
To begin with, DBT is specifically designed to be able to help those who are suffering from high emotional instability. This is something that clinicians say is called “dysregulation”.
DBTs goal is to help those who have the inability to manage their emotions which can lead to behavior problems. These behavior problems can be impulsive behaviors. Self-harming, and self-destructive behaviors. The goal here is to teach children different techniques that will help them to understand their own emotions without judging themselves. This would be the mindfulness part of DBT.
It also gives them the techniques and skills to be able to manage these emotions and learn how to change their behavior problems. This will help to make life better for them in the end. However, this does take a lot of commitment and work for any kind of success.
What DBT for Adolescents Involves
When it comes to adolescents, DBT tends to involve individual therapy along with group therapy that offers skills training. In group therapy, both the children and their parents will learn these skills together. Other things include consultations on the phone. All patients are always encouraged to feel free to call their therapist should they have the urge to hurt themselves.
DBT for adolescents also includes therapy for the entire family along with consultation meetings with team members on a weekly basis. This is where all of the therapists check in with others to consult on their cases together.
Skills Taught by DBT
There are five different modules when it comes to DBT for children and the skills training is quite structured:
- Mindfulness – This teaches children to learn to be present in the moment and to also understand the different signs of their unregulated emotions that arise.
- Regulation of Emotions – This is a skill that will help them to cope with a variety of difficult situations in their lives. It teaches them to build self-soothing and pleasant experiences in order to help protect themselves from damaging emotional extremes.
- Interpersonal Effectiveness – Quite often, children are influenced by social negative triggers that will cause them to have behavior problems. This module teaches them to know how to interact a lot more effectively with other people. It also enables children to feel much more supported by others in their lives.
- Distress Tolerance – This will teach children how to recognize the urges to do things that are ineffective and can lead to harming themselves or even trying to commit suicide.
- Walking the Middle Path – Both parents and children will learn how they can validate each other. They are taught how to negotiate and compromise. It also teaches them how they can learn to see each other’s side of the issues.
Other Issues DBT Can Help Children With
Not only can DBT help children with behavior problems, it can also help those with disorders such as borderline personality disorder, but it doesn’t stop there. It has also been proven to be effective in the treatment of emotional instability and a variety of other kinds of diagnoses that include:
- Abuse of drugs
- Different types of eating disorders
- Disruptive Behavior Disorders
- Anxiety issues
It’s important to act if you feel that your child seems to be suffering behavior problems that you can’t seem to help them with. If your child is exhibiting behavior that’s out of control you may want to contact a therapist so that you can determine whether or not your child needs treatment.