Overview of DBT For Children and Adolescents
Think of DBT as having two overarching goals: 1.) to help your child learn how to handle negative emotions and thoughts skillfully and effectively and to make better decisions when dysregulated, and 2.) to create more positive states of being through better communication skills, improved methods of self-care, higher self-esteem, better boundary setting, more self-confidence and most of all, the confidence to modify and to create a brand new, improved way of relating to their emotions and thoughts.
DBT Skills classes work through four types of skills – Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotion Regulation, and Interpersonal Effectiveness. Broadly speaking, the Mindfulness and Distress Tolerance skill sections are classified as “Acceptance Skills,” and the Emotion Regulation and Interpersonal Effectiveness skills make up the “Change Skills.” Using Acceptance skills, we teach your child how to accept where they are currently in their life, the state of their thoughts and emotions, and the value and possibility that the present moment brings to their life – peace, joy, and a renewed perspective.
Change Skills teach your child how to be proactive in their experience rather than reacting to everything with extreme thoughts and emotions. Regularly being overwhelmed or constantly surrendering control to your emotions can be exhausting, and many children and teens fall into patterns of “learned helplessness” where they stop even trying to change things. Instead, they may simply try to survive their emotions. Change skills give them a new way to navigate life and usher in a brand new era of actively processing emotions, learning how to modify them, and fundamentally change our emotional minds.
GearingUp’s founders, Dr. Sylvia Gearing and Dr. Milt Gearing, have been pioneers in the field of teaching children and teens about emotions and how to change their response patterns. They have also completed Dr. Linehan’s Intensive Training Program in DBT years ago to further augment their skills in teaching coping skills to children and teens who are struggling with powerful feelings. Since the 1980’s, they have inherited thousands of cases from other well meaning mental health professionals where treatment has failed. All of these children, teens, and their families were welcomed to GearingUp with a renewed hope that their emotional reaction patterns will not only get better but stay better once they learn new skills. Our internal metrics and research show that over 90% of clients who complete six to twelve months of GearingUp’s prescribed treatment recommendations see significant and lasting results. At such a critical time of development, children and teens need a sense of self-efficacy and resilience that will enable them to develop and flourish into their adulthood.
If you are ready to get started and take the first step, please Contact Us today by calling our office, filling out a contact form, or through the chat window on this page. Our staff will follow up with you as soon as possible to schedule your first appointment.