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Learning to Manage Emotions with DBT

Lidia Harding
Blog For parents Press Substance Abuse Youth and Family Counseliing
DBT group

Youth Eastside Services’, CEO Patti Skelton-McGougan shares how many of the skills learned during Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) treatment can apply to everyone, with Bellevue Reporter.

When Julianna, then 18 years old, came to Youth Eastside Services (YES), she didn’t know how to cope with stress or trauma from her childhood — or the negative emotions they caused — other than using drugs. But through Dialectical Behavior Therapy classes and YES’ counseling services, she was able to learn positive ways of handling tough situations.

“I’ve learned how to ride emotions and … feel the emotion and not be caught up in the feelings. I’ve learned that emotions pass,” she says.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, or DBT, was developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan in the 1970s to treat adult borderline personality disorder. It focuses on empowering teens (and adults) to better handle their emotions and build more effective relationships by teaching skills in four areas:

Mindfulness – Helps teens control and regulate their attention and learn to me more present in their daily lives.

Distress tolerance – Helps teens tolerate stressful situations and make better decisions under distress.

Interpersonal effectiveness – Helps teens negotiate relationships with others by asking for what they want and need – and by saying “no” effectively.

Emotion regulation – Helps teens recognize, validate and reduce the intensity of their emotions.

Research shows that DBT can be highly effective for treating a number of behavioral health issues, including eating disorders, substance use, suicidal ideation, depression and more. YES often uses DBT techniques in one-to-one counseling, plus offers DBT classes at all three of its offices—including a DBT class geared specifically to teens who are using substances.

What many people may not know is that many of the skills learned during DBT treatment can apply to everyone, even those not dealing with mental health or substance issues, with major benefits to day-to-day life.

Read the complete article at the Bellevue Reporter.

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