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How We Treat

Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Children (DBT-C)

DBT-C adapts the principles of Dialectical Behavior Therapy in a way that is appropriate to a child’s level of development and cognitive abilities. 

DBT-C treatment is specifically designed for pre-adolescents who have trouble regulating intense emotions and therefore tend to act impulsively, overreact to situations, resist change, think in absolutes, and lash out verbally or physically when they are emotionally overwhelmed.Their inability to cope with their big emotions or calm themselves draws attention from the adults and peers around them, which reinforces the unwanted behavior without addressing or validating the underlying emotional needs that led to the behavior. The pattern becomes cyclical, which further emotionally destabilizes the child and further exacerbates his, her, or their caregivers.

How is DBT-C Different from DBT?

While DBT-C includes the core elements of adult DBT, it differs in two significant ways. For starters, the treatment includes extensive training for parents, teaching them (typically in group settings) many of the same mindfulness and communication skills being taught to their children in therapy. The goal is to provide a structured path that helps caregivers model and reinforce effective emotion regulation at home. Second, the individual treatment for the child includes child-friendly materials (such as cartoons or videos) and activities (such as role playing) to help the child engage and connect with the therapist.

How Children Overcome Challenges with Adapted DBT-C

For pre-adolescent children living with severe emotional dysregulation, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a proven method of helping them to better manage their emotions and develop healthy skills. With the help of specialized counselors and an accepting environment, DBT-C (Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Children) is designed to provide personalized strategies to empower these young individuals in overcoming obstacles. It offers a safe space for pre-adolescent children to build self-confidence, self-worth and resilience, which are essential for achieving long-term success. We strive to create an atmosphere that helps them grow positively and view life’s challenges in a more constructive way.


Features and Benifits of DBT-C


Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Children (DBT-C) is a specialized form of DBT, tailored to help pre-adolescent children aged 8 to 12 years old manage their emotions, develop healthy skills and build resilience. This therapeutic approach focuses on the developing minds of pre-adolescents, providing individualized strategies and guidance to empower them in overcoming obstacles they face. It provides an accepting environment where they can feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and feelings without judgement or criticism, allowing them to learn techniques for regulating their emotions and building self-confidence. By teaching key mindfulness exercises and positive coping mechanisms, DBT-C helps these young individuals prepare for adulthood with emotional stability and long-term success.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are both evidence-based approaches used to treat mental health issues. While both involve cognitive restructuring, DBT is a more comprehensive approach that works on developing behavioural skills, regulating emotions and understanding interpersonal relationships. Studies have shown that DBT is effective in helping patients with severe emotional dysregulation such as anxiety, depression, self-harm, addiction and eating disorders. As opposed to CBT which only focuses on cognitive restructuring, DBT provides a holistic approach to mental health treatment. This has proven to be particularly effective for pre-adolescent children, which is why specialized Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Children (DBT-C) has been developed.

Yes, Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Children (DBT-C) can be very beneficial for people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It has been found to help reduce negative behaviors associated with the condition such as impulsiveness and difficulty in self-regulating. The central principles of mindfulness and emotion regulation taught through DBT help individuals better manage their attention span and executive functioning deficits that may accompany ADHD. Furthermore, it offers them an understanding of their disorder, providing skills to manage their daily lives more effectively.

We Can Help.

If you or a loved one can benefit from Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Children (DBT-C), we are here to help.
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