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Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Adolescents

Acceptance and change toward your life worth living

What is DBT-A?

DBT is a type of CBT, meaning we’ll look at how your thoughts and behaviors are impacting how you feel. DBT adds the nuance of dialectics, the concept that two things that seem opposite can both be true.


Some common dialectics are “therapy is helpful AND it’s hard work”, “I want to do well in school AND it can be hard to focus”, “I am a wonderful parent AND I make mistakes”.


The main dialectic in DBT is acceptance and change:


“I accept myself exactly as I am AND I am working toward change.”

Two people celebrating

DBT-A is very similar to DBT – just adapted for teens:

  1.  It has one more module than typical in DBT skills group that addresses family conflict. 

  2. At least one parent joins the group as a full participant, and all family members are invited to come as often as they can, if the teen agrees.

  3. Phone coaching is only for the teen.

  4. Family and parent sessions are added as appropriate.

Who is DBT-A for?

Your teen might be struggling with things like

- Feeling like they're on an emotional roller coaster

- Fighting with loved ones

- Feeling numbed out, empty or disconnected

- Not having a sense of self

Your teen might even have turned to things like

- Reckless driving

- Self-harm

- Unhealthy eating patterns

- Thinking about suicide

- Threatening suicide

If your teen is experiencing any of the above symptoms, for any reason, we can help.


The common thread for people who benefit from DBT is emotion dysregulation. Emotion regulation is when we are managing, controlling, and influencing our emotions. Emotion dysregulation is the opposite.

A note about borderline personality disorder:

BPD is the most treatable personality disorder. BPD unfortunately doesn’t have the best reputation; DBT is a treatment that works in treating BPD. 

However, lots of people who benefit from DBT do not have BPD.

Why was DBT created? What purpose does it fill?

Marsha Linehan, PhD, the developer of DBT, wanted to create a treatment that would actually work for clients who weren’t getting better. 

She initially tried behavior therapy, and clients pushed back, saying “you don’t understand how hard it is, how much pain we’re in.” 


Then she tried a person-centered, humanistic approach, and still received pushback: “it’s nice to feel validated, and we have real problems and need real help!”


This led to the development of a third set of strategies: dialectical strategies. With the combination of acceptance and change, clients were able to get movement and flow in sessions, and actually reach their life worth living.

What are the parts of DBT that make it work?

Each of the 4 components, or modes, of the treatment directly map onto the problems people come to DBT with.


Group is where you and your teen will learn skills to become more mindful, improve interpersonal effectiveness, tolerate distress, and learn to manage and control emotions.


Phone coaching moves your teen from skills in their head to skills in their life. It also gives them a chance to learn to observe, communicate, and respect limits in relationships.


Individual DBT helps your teen recognize patterns that get them stuck and figure out ways to move forward.


DBT team makes sure your teen's therapist doesn’t burn out and does a great job at doing DBT with your teen.

A note about doing only “part” of DBT

Without all 4 modes, it is NOT comprehensive DBT.


Many times people think they have “done DBT” and have only received one part. This would be called DBT-informed treatment, or therapy that is informed by aspects of DBT. 

For people who need full DBT it’s vital that it be done according to the way it was developed and tested because that’s the way we know that it works!


Recent research shows that many people can benefit from DBT skills group alone. This is a decision that is made together with your individual therapist and is not appropriate for everyone.

Ready to take the first step?
To get started with our Client Care Coordinator

  • Where are you located?
    Our clinicians are located all over, and are licensed to provide services to clients in NY, NJ, FL, MD and Israel. Currently, we offer services via telehealth and in person in Jerusalem. Please call our office 02-376-4719 or 011-972-2-376-4719 to find out more about getting started with therapy.
  • Do you take insurance?
    We work with all insurance companies as an out-of-network provider. We recommend that all clients reach out to their insurance company to find out if they are eligible for any coverage. To do this, call the number on your insurance card and ask what is covered for an out-of-network provider who is providing the services in which you are engaging (individual therapy, family therapy, or group therapy). Remember to ask if you have a deductible and what they consider the maximum allowable reimbursement. We provide you with a statement (called a superbill) that contains all of the necessary information that is required by insurance companies for out-of-network reimbursement.
  • What do you mean by "frum"?
    Frum can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. We mean whatever you mean. If you would call yourself frum and you’re looking for high quality mental health services, you’re in the right place.
  • What is your cancellation and rescheduling policy?
    We have a 48-hour cancellation and reschedule policy for all individual appointments. Groups require a financial commitment to a full module, regardless of missed sessions.
  • Does treatment address underlying issues?
    Treatment focuses on what is not working for you right now, which is informed by your learning history until now. We therefore work to make changes that will last. Underlying issues that are impacting your current way of living are targeted to bring about the greatest possible lasting changes.
  • Can I keep my outside therapist if I do DBT?
    If your therapist recommends you join our DBT skills group, we are happy to collaborate with them in your treatment. If your therapist does not offer individual DBT therapy, we will need to determine whether or not the current treatment you are receiving would blend well with the addition of skills training and whether or not comprehensive DBT would be more appropriate. If you would benefit from full DBT, you can continue to see your current therapist while you are in the pre-treatment stage, prior to committing. Once we have committed to work together using DBT, we need all hands on deck to make treatment as effective as possible. This means that you may continue to work with your individual therapist after completing DBT, and while you are committed to DBT, you can only sit in one chair.
  • I want to learn more but I don't know if I want to or need to start therapy right now.
    Please feel free to reach out for a free phone consultation with our Client Care Coordinator. We can answer your questions and help you determine if we’re the right fit for you at this time. Therapy can be really tough, just like any development – being aware of our flaws and accepting they exist in order to make necessary changes requires courage and strength. Let us share proven methods with you to help you on that journey.

You can completely alter their future.
Let's make that happen.

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