Skip to Main Content

Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Adolescents (DBTA)

Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Adolescents (DBTA) is a multifaceted treatment approach that includes facets of cognitive behavior skills training, mindfulness meditation, behaviorism, and dialectics. Though none of these individual aspects is novel on its own, implementing them together in a structured program was an innovative development that has led to greater success.

DBTA is structured to help adolescents and their parent/caregiver gain insight and skills to manage their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Per the developer’s guidelines, the format is intensive, involving a two-hour weekly psychoeducational skills group (multi-family group), individual/family therapy, weekly skills homework, and phone coaching between sessions. The therapy focuses on four skills modules:

  • Mindfulness: Teaches mindfulness meditation
  • Emotion regulation: Educates clients on emotions and how to manage them
  • Interpersonal effectiveness: Teaches skills to help clients manage healthy relationships
  • Distress tolerance: Teaches skills to help clients deal with emotional crises