DBT for teens can help adolescents work through their anxiety as they try to create healthy connections, work through difficult situations, and build themselves up as they mature both mentally and physically.

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What Is DBT for Teens?

DBT, or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, is a kind of therapy that is similar to CBT, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Developed by Marsha Linehan, originally to help suicidal patients or those with Borderline Personality Disorder, it is now a viable method to treat various mental conditions, such as depression, PTSD, substance abuse, trauma, and anxiety in teens. DBT can help teens take positive steps towards change while still accepting who and where they are. This is related to the first part of the therapy’s name, ‘dialectical,’ the combining of opposites.

Differences Between DBT and CBT

As DBT is a variation of CBT, it will share similarities in methods and theories, most notably how the two are similar to psychotherapy (also known as talk therapy). The defining difference between the two, however, is how negative behaviors and thoughts are handled.

CBT focuses more on how thoughts, feelings, and behaviors can influence one another. CBT thus helps patients with identifying and changing ways of thinking and acting that are very problematic. Whereas DBT focuses on the emotional and social side of things. DBT aims to help patients learn how to control their extreme emotions and actions instead of redirecting how they think or act.

The 4 Skills in DBT

DBT is a skills-based therapy that anyone, especially teens, can learn and apply in life. Skills related to DBT are divided into four categories. Two categories focus on acceptance while the other two focus on change.


Involves teaching how to be aware of this one moment; how to be present and ‘here’ in the moment.

Distress Tolerance

Involves teaching how to be tolerant of pain during painful or trying times, not to find ways how to change it.

Interpersonal Effectiveness

Involves teaching how to ask for something and how to say “no” without affecting the patient’s self-respect and bonds with others.

Emotion Regulation

Involves teaching how to increase resilience to painful emotions and understand how to ‘change’ emotions when needed.

Who is DBT Best Suitable For?

While DBT is used to help people with Borderline Personality Disorder, it is also used to help teens and adults who are experiencing mental disorders like depression, PTSD, trauma, and substance abuse. When a patient undergoes DBT, they will find themselves struggling with intense emotions such as frustration, depression, extreme anger, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts.

As a treatment center for adults and teens, patients can learn DBT skills by attending skill groups several times every week. Innova Joy staff will coach patients until the newly-learned DBT skills become a part of them, so they will know how and when to use them in their daily lives.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy is one of many treatment therapies available at Innova Joy. Each one is suitable for treating an aspect of a patient, be it the body, mind, or soul. For more information about other Innova Joy therapies, click here.

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To learn more about DBT for teens or how it can help reduce or manage anxiety in teens, please contact us. Calls are strictly confidential.