Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Children
Give your child the emotional skills to succeed
What is DBT-C?
DBT-C is a proven therapy that helps sensitive children manage their emotions and change their behavior.
Extreme emotions, anxiety, or depression don’t have to spell doom
Make life a lot easier
What is DBT-C? Is it right for my child?
What does DBT-C stand for?
DBT stands for Dialectical Behavior Therapy. The C stands for Child, meaning this form of DBT has been modified to cater to the unique needs of children (ages 6-13). You can read more about DBT here.
What does “dialectical” mean? How is it used in therapy?
It means investigating the truth using opposing ideas. In DBT-C, we learn to find the “grey” and get out of black-and-white. We learn balance and flexibility.
In DBT, the main opposing ideas we’re talking about are acceptance and change. DBT is a form of therapy that focuses on learning to balance both acceptance and change.
Could my child benefit from DBT?
If your child struggles with BIG EMOTIONS, the answer is a resounding YES!
Some diagnoses that children who benefit from DBT-C have been given are disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, ADHD, or depression.
Even if your child does not have an official diagnosis, they could still benefit from this therapy if they have:
Feel emotions more strongly than others
Beat self up over small things
Trouble moving on from negative emotions
Believe everything is great or horrible
Get stuck on same thought
Don’t seem to be able to view things from different perspectives
Make decisions without thinking through the consequences
Hurt themselves or others
Break possessions or other’s objects
In addition to DBT, our therapists can use CBT and other therapies to help children succeed.
Treatment in Context
Your child exists within the context of their family and school. Our process takes that into account.
Your child’s success is going to take teamwork. You’ll be an active participant right from the start, to ensure your child’s long-term progress.
1. Change starts with a choice to join
First, you purchase a spot in our parenting group (found here)
Then, if you live in NY/NJ and are interested in having your child participate in therapy, you’ll schedule an appointment for an intake with one of our therapists.
2. Progress happens through your commitment
By coming to group meetings and completing at least one module, you will begin to create an environment that is ready to support your child’s changes.
With the validation and relationship strategies you’ll learn, you’ll gain entry into your child’s emotional life. They’ll begin to trust you to help them.
3. You help your child master the skills to navigate their emotions
You and your child will attend the “Be the Boss” group where they’ll learn what they need to know and do to gain understanding of themselves and control of their actions.
Success breeds success. Seeing that they're accepted and able to to change gives them a sense they're safe in the world.
4. We help you and your child personalize the approach
This step is really concurrent with step 3. Your child will see a therapist privately for a half an hour session, either weekly or every other week - depending on what’s needed.
This private session will be a place for us to ensure that your child is getting the skills, that lessons are being implemented at home and school, and that we can explain nuances in how to tailor the strategies to your child's life.
Parenting an emotionally sensitive child is tough.
It doesn’t have to feel impossible.
Some children experience the world more intensely. Their senses are in overdrive. We call them Supersensers.
The way they process and react corresponds to this intensity, but from the outside it looks out of whack.
It’s a sad path:
Feel out of control and ashamed
Feel big emotions
Punishment, criticism, or judgement
Wish to be different but no way to break the cycle
With the strategies and tools you and your child will learn you can break the cycle and change their path
Emotionally sensitive input
Feel big emotions
Environment that reinforces their positive choices and not negative ones
Problem solving what to do with emotions
Motivation to continue working and growing
But what about…?
Here are some typical concerns parents have before starting DBT- C with their child and why they shouldn’t stand in the way
We’ve already tried therapy and it didn’t work!
Many therapeutic approaches focus on creating a safe relationship with the therapist.
DBT-C is different. It focuses on creating a trusting relationship with you.
My child is the one with the struggles, why would I come to therapy?
You’re not coming to therapy to talk about your issues, you’re coming to learn how to make the best environment to support your child’s changes.
We’ll help you become the authority they needs and the person they trusts to help them navigate big emotions - so they won’t have to keep coming back to therapy.
Time! Who has time for all this?
It does feel like a big commitment, but stop to think about how much time you spend right now on:
Calming tantrums at home
Talking to teachers
Worrying about what will come next and if there’s anything you can do about it
DBT is a gift of time. Not just time saved, but of time enjoyed as you watch your child learn to become a master of their own reactions and gain confidence to be the and be the boss of themselves.
My child doesn’t want to come to therapy.
Your child doesn’t need to come to therapy if they don’t want to, as long as we can have an assessment once in a while.
The parenting group is the key component. It’s preferable for your child to gain the skills, but you can make an enormous difference in their life even without their participation in therapy.