Anxiety is a common mental health issue among adolescents, and many adolescents have difficulty managing their anxiety in healthy ways. Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based treatment that has been found to be particularly effective for helping adolescents cope with anxiety. DBT combines cognitive-behavioral techniques with mindfulness exercises to help teens develop skills to better manage their emotions. Let’s explore what DBT entails and how it can be used to help adolescents struggling with anxiety.
What Is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy?
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a form of psychotherapy that combines cognitive-behavioral methods with mindful awareness practices. It was originally developed by Marsha Linehan as a treatment for people who experience intense emotions and have difficulty regulating them. While it was initially developed as a treatment for adults, it has since been adapted to work with adolescents as well. The goal of DBT is to teach adolescents the skills they need to better regulate their emotions, build healthier coping strategies, and ultimately lead more balanced lives.
How Does DBT Help Adolescents With Anxiety?
The primary focus of DBT is on helping teens learn how to regulate their emotions more effectively and build healthy coping strategies. Through the use of cognitive-behavioral techniques, such as challenging negative thought patterns, teens can learn how to reframe their thoughts in a more positive light and better manage their reactions to stressful or difficult situations. Additionally, mindfulness practices help teens become aware of their thoughts and feelings without judgment or criticism so that they are able to recognize when they are feeling anxious or overwhelmed before becoming overwhelmed by those feelings. The combination of these two approaches helps teens become more aware of how their thoughts and behaviors affect their emotional state, allowing them to make changes that will lead to healthier outcomes.
Benefits Of DBT For Anxious Adolescents
One of the major benefits of using dialectical behaviour therapy for anxious adolescents is its ability to help them learn skills that they can use in daily life outside the therapy setting. As opposed to other forms of psychotherapy which focus solely on talking through issues, DBT also includes practical exercises that teenagers can do on their own time between sessions in order to better understand themselves and manage their emotions more effectively in day-to-day life. This makes it easier for them to apply what they’ve learned in therapy to everyday situations so they can continue making progress even after the conclusion of treatment.
What Can An Adolescent With Anxiety Expect From DBT?
Adolescents with anxiety can find some relief and comfort through Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). In psychotherapy, psychotherapists will work to help patients by developing a rapport and trust between the therapist and the patient. During psychotherapy sessions, adolescents with anxiety can expect their therapist to provide them with personalized counselling or psychotherapy tailored to their individual experiences, challenges, emotions, and thoughts. Through DBT psychotherapy, adolescents will also be encouraged to modify their behaviors in order to cope better with stressors. Overall, DBT offers adolescents suffering from anxiety helpful strategies and support from a psychotherapist on how to live a more peaceful life.
How Long Will DBT Take To Work For An Adolescent Suffering/Dealing With Anxiety?
For an adolescent who is struggling with anxiety, psychotherapy can provide invaluable support. The type of psychotherapy that is most often used to treat and manage anxiety in teens is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). This form of psychotherapy works by helping adolescents to understand and identify the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that are causing their distress, while also teaching them coping strategies they can use in different situations. Although effective long-term outcomes of DBT treatment vary from person to person, it typically takes four to six months to work closely with a therapist before adolescents start to see changes in their behavior. Counselling sessions focused on DBT can help teach the necessary skills for managing anxiety, allowing those suffering from the disorder to lead productive and emotionally healthy lives.
How Do I Know If DBT Is The Right Treatment For An Adolescent With Anxiety?
Deciding whether Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is the right psychotherapy treatment for an adolescent with anxiety can be a difficult process. However, seeking out the help and advice of a qualified therapist or counsellor are key steps to arriving at the decision. During psychotherapy sessions, the therapist and adolescent can assess if DBT is likely to create positive, lasting change for them. The psychotherapist should take some time to discuss the individual needs and goals of the adolescent in order to determine if DBT would be beneficial. Consulting with family members may also be necessary to ensure that any chosen psychotherapeutic approach addresses the needs of all involved in a beneficial way. Ultimately, working together will help ensure that any psychotherapy treatment plan puts the safety, well-being, and growth of the adolescent first.
Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) has been found to be an effective approach to helping adolescents manage anxiety disorders because it combines cognitive-behavioral techniques with mindfulness practices. By teaching teens the necessary skills needed for regulating emotions, building healthier coping strategies, and leading balanced lives, DBT can provide long-term relief from anxiety symptoms while also providing tools for managing anxiety outside the therapeutic setting. If you are looking for a way for your adolescent child or teen client to cope with anxiety symptoms, consider seeking out a therapist trained in dialectical behavior therapy as one potential solution.
If you have any questions or would like to explore further, please book a free, no-charge online appointment with either myself, Joe White, Psychotherapist, or one of the other psychotherapists at CARESPACE Health+Wellness in Kitchener and Waterloo. We are happy to listen and are here to help!