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Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based psychotherapy that emphasizes the psychosocial aspects of treatment. It is a rigidly structured therapeutic approach that is carried out in three therapeutic settings, including weekly individual therapy sessions, weekly DBT skills training group therapy sessions, and as-needed phone coaching. Within each therapeutic setting, DBT focuses on four behavioral skill modules, which are: core mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and emotion regulation. Each module highlights distinct and specific skills that build upon each other. There are a variety of activities that children and their caregivers can do to help reinforce the DBT skills from each module. Consider the following options: 

  • Core mindfulness activities: learning to be present and fully aware in the moment
  • Blow bubbles: focusing on blowing bubbles can help get kids out of their heads. Have them see how big they can make their bubbles by breathing in slowly and then relax as they exhale into the bubble wand.
  • Focus on the five senses: an effective grounding technique and a quick way to bring one’s attention to the present moment is to actively engage all five senses. Try this by naming 5 things you can see, 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste.
  • Create a sensory surprise bag: encourage your child to explore through touch by collecting different items with varying textures and placing them in a bag. Ask questions to prompt mindfulness such as: Is it sharp or smooth? Big or small? Can you describe what you are feeling?
  • Distress tolerance activities: learning to tolerate pain in difficult situation, instead of attempting to change it
  • Practice intentional breathing together: focusing on your breath can help you and your child find respite from feelings of overwhelm, while simultaneously unwinding, and resetting. There are many simple breathing exercise that can help get you started. 
  • Emotion coaching: Emotion coaching is the process of guiding a child through intense emotions by validating, relating, naming the emotion, and holding boundaries.
  • Interpersonal effectiveness: learning to manage and deal with primary emotional reactions before they have a chance to turn into distressing secondary reactions
    • DEAR MAN skills: DEAR MAN is an acronym for Describe the current situation, Express your opinions and feelings, Assert yourself by asking for what you want or saying no, Reinforce and reward the person by explaining the positive effects of getting what you want or need, be Mindful and keep your focus on your goals, Appear confident, effective, and competent, Negotiate and be willing to give to get.
    • FAST skills: FAST is an acronym for be Fair to yourself and the other person, no Apologies when you have not done anything wrong, Stick to your values and stand up for what you believe in, be Truthful and honest with yourself and others.
  • Emotion regulation: learning to honor boundaries, and advocate for one’s wants and needs in relationships in a way that is both self-respecting and non-damaging 
    • Play charades with emotions: Have your child pick the name of an emotion out of a hat or basket, then see if you can guess what emotion they are acting out.
    • Facilitate a full body scan: This activity involves your child sitting or standing still and closing their eyes. Then, starting with the tip of their head, ask them to pay attention to any sensations they are experiencing. If their head feels normal, move on, and ask them to draw their attention to their face, neck, shoulders, arms, chest, hands, etc. and all the way down to their toes. Studies show that even short periods of this kind of meditation can help kids be more resilient and able to cope with big feelings when they arise. 

Treatment In Calabasas

Calabasas is a city in California. It is a well-known suburb of Los Angeles, located west of the San Fernando Valley and north of the Santa Monica Mountains. Over the past decade, the city of Calabasas has grown in its reputation for luxury as well as for privacy which makes it a hidden gem for residential living for society’s elite, and one of the most desirable destinations in Los Angeles County. It is also home to a plethora of highly qualified mental health clinicians providing an array of therapeutic services and treatment options. 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

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