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Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

Evidence-based therapy that teaches healthy coping skills

The pressures of balancing school, family, friends, and other activities can create a lot of emotions that don’t always feel within your control. If you’re a teen or the parent of a teen who’s having trouble with intense emotions, impulse control, depression, anxiety, substance use, disordered eating, relationship conflicts, or self-harming, research shows that Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) can help.

Thanks to the generous donations from YES supporters, YES is the only East King County youth-serving behavioral health agency that provides a Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) Program to all clients, regardless of their ability to pay. 

What is DBT?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy that identifies and changes the client’s negative thinking patterns and harmful behavior patterns. The term “dialectical” refers to the idea that bringing together two opposites in therapy — acceptance and change — brings better results than either one alone. The ultimate goal of DBT is to learn concrete skills that help create a life worth living.

“DBT is more than just noticing your thought pattern, changing your thought, then changing your behavior. It’s more of a philosophy. Clients are changing how they look, interpret and engage with the world around them,” says Cory Lane, YES Youth and Family Counselor and DBT Skills Group Facilitator.

Four Skills of DBT

  • Mindfulness – helps teens control and regulate their attention to be more present in daily life.
  • Distress tolerance – helps teens tolerate stressful situations and make better decisions.
  • Interpersonal effectiveness – helps teens negotiate relationships with others by asking for what they want and need and by saying “no” effectively.
  • Emotional regulation – helps teens recognize, validate, and reduce the intensity and impact of their strong emotions.

YES' DBT Program

At YES youth aged 13-22 have the opportunity to participate in the Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) Program. The program consists of 24 weeks of a two-hour multi-family (includes parents/guardians) skills group, alongside weekly individual therapy with a trained DBT therapist.

Individual Therapy

Individual DBT therapy is personalized and based on specific goals determined in collaboration with the client’s therapist. Clients must meet with their therapist at least once a week for approximately 50 minutes.

In these sessions, therapists work with teens to discover behaviors and emotions that they would like to change and discuss current situations of concern. Together, they will problem-solve and practice choosing and applying DBT skills and strategies learned in the DBT Skills Group.

DBT Skills Group

The multi-family DBT Skills Group is a weekly, two-hour group facilitated by two trained DBT Therapists. The Skills Group is run very much like a class and is primarily focused on learning new skills rather than processing emotions (which is instead covered in weekly individual therapy). The group teaches clients and their parents/caregivers the strategies they need to increase emotional regulation and reach their goals. Skills are practiced together in group and at home via short weekly homework assignments.

DBT Web Series

Would you like to learn the DBT Skills in the comfort of your own space?

This online, prerecorded series is a great resource.

Join YES counselors Cailyn and Delaney in creating a toolbox full of skills to use in everyday life in this pre-recorded 16-week web series.

Start by building a foundation with Mindfulness, then establish your own shelter to weather the storms with Distress Tolerance, then discuss Emotional Regulation to feel more at home in your own head, and end the series looking outside ourselves with Interpersonal Effectiveness to link to our communities.

This web series is rooted in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and involves activities, worksheets, and helpful tips. Each webisode includes 30-40 minutes of content.

Building a Life Worth Living WebSeries

Questions & Enrolling

If you have any questions about the group, please contact our main line at 425-747-4937.

All those interested in joining YES’ DBT program must first schedule an assessment at YES.

To set up an intake assessment, call 425-747-4937, and we’ll connect you with our Open Access Team, who will schedule your assessment appointment.

Assessments are provided Mondays – Thursdays 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Fridays 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. They are available both in person and through virtual Telehealth.

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