Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Children (DBT-C)
What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Children (DBT-C)?
DBT-C (Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Children) is a form a DBT specifically created to help children and their parents manage negative emotions, thought patterns, and behaviors that feel overwhelming or uncontrollable.
Some children may be more sensitive to strong emotions and may feel so overwhelmed that they struggle with daily tasks, relationships, and healthy behavior. DBT-C helps children learn to better regulate their thoughts and feelings by teaching both the child and their parents effective coping skills, problem-solving, and emotion regulation techniques.
DBT-C features a strong parental component in therapy, in which parents will attend therapy sessions first and regularly, and will learn new skills along with their child.
DBT-C is a proven effective therapy method for children and has been shown to produce many benefits, including:
Improving a child’s emotional wellbeing,
Decreasing self-destructive and harmful behaviors,
Building more effective parenting skills,
And an improved parent-child relationship.
Would my child benefit from DBT-C?
The DBT skills taught in DBT-C are be useful in a wide variety of situations. If your child is struggling with behavioral problems or strong emotions, parents and children alike will benefit from DBT-C.
DBT-C has been found to be particularly helpful for children struggling with suicidal thoughts or behaviors, self-harming behaviors, and severe emotion dysregulation associated with mood disorders or trauma. If you’ve found that other therapy methods have been ineffective in creating emotion stability for you and your child in the past, DBT-C may still be an effective option.
DBT-C features a comprehensive parental component, and parents will meet with their child’s therapist and often attend sessions along with their child to gain a better understanding of DBT-C and learn a number of skills to create the validating and change-ready environment, during, and after their child enters therapy.
Overall the goals of DBT-C are to:
teach strategies and skills to the parents to improve the parent-child relationship,
teach children adaptive coping and effective problem-solving skills, and
teach parents how to create a validating and change-ready environment where growth and healing can take place.