Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Adolescents (DBT-A) is an evidence-based therapy for teens who need support in at least three of the following five areas: confusion about self, impulsivity, lack of emotional control, interpersonal problems, and adolescent-family dilemmas. Adolescents with high risk behaviors such as suicidal thoughts or attempts, self-injurious behaviors, or substance misuse have also been shown to benefit from the treatment. DBT-A is a comprehensive therapy aimed at building a life worth living and reducing factors that get in the way of enjoying life and achieving personal goals.

Our program is adherent to the research protocols that established evidence for the treatment's effectiveness and includes the following four components:

  • Individual Therapy-An individual therapist at WMI will meet with the teen weekly or twice a week, depending on the adolescent’s needs, for a 50 minute session.
  • Multifamily Skills Class-A two-hour class at WMI meets weekly and focuses on teaching adolescents and one or more caregiver the skills to better manage the challenges of living. The skills cover 5 areas of learning: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, and dialectical thinking/behavior.
  • Phone Coaching-In order to help adolescents and their caregiver(s) generalize the skills they are learning in class to their every day lives, therapists are available throughout the week for phone coaching. These structured calls last 10-15min and focus on helping to identify and apply the most appropriate skills to a given problem. 
  • Consultation Team-Our therapists meet weekly for two hours to support each other, discuss cases, and ensure that we offer the most effective DBT possible.