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Supporting Entire Families with DBT

Lidia Harding
Success Stories Youth and Family Counseliing
Youth Eastside Services new multi-family DBT Skills Group

When Tina’s* daughter encountered difficulties managing her emotions, navigating social interactions, and understanding her identity, her teacher referred her to the school’s YES counselor. Recognizing the potential benefits of learning new social-emotional skills through Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), the counselor recommended YES’ DBT Skills Group and encouraged Tina to join her daughter in the newly formatted Multi-Family Group.

“I was excited to join my daughter and learn more about DBT and skills, which would also help me be a better parent.”

New Multi-Family Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Group

This year, thanks to the support of generous donors, YES’ Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) Skills Group has introduced a new multi-family format, which allows the group to include not just the clients themselves but also their family members. This marks a significant stride in youth mental health care, improving the chances of long-lasting recovery.

The inclusion of parents and guardians in the DBT skills group is a game-changer for young clients on their journey to recovery. By involving family members, YES aims to create a supportive environment where clients can thrive. Through shared learning experiences, families gain valuable insights and tools to navigate challenges together.

“Studies show that having families involved in learning skills with their teenagers helps both the teens learn and integrate the skills better at home, and also helps parents have the skills to cope with the distress of having a teenager who is struggling with their mental health,” says Liz Ludwig, YES Youth, and Family Counselor and DBT Skills Group Facilitator.

By practicing DBT skills together, families forge stronger bonds and develop effective communication strategies, both essential for navigating the complexities of mental health challenges. The ripple effects of this support extend far beyond the therapy room, positively impacting their relationships.

Tina and Family Build Stronger Bonds

For Tina and her daughter, the DBT group created a supportive environment where they could learn, practice, and discuss new skills together. Quickly, they both began to recognize the benefits. One of Tina’s favorite skills so far is the idea of two truths being able to coexist alongside each other, allowing them to validate each other’s feelings while maintaining their own perspectives.

“When we have difficult conversations, we’ll bring our DBT workbooks to the table with us, and it helps us work through our conflicts.”

Looking back on their time with YES’ DBT skills group, Tina couldn’t help but feel incredibly thankful for the support and resources that allowed her and her daughter to dive into this transformative journey. Thanks to YES and generous donors, they not only gained valuable tools for dealing with life’s ups and downs but also felt a deeper connection and understanding between them as mother and daughter.

*At YES, we respect everyone who comes to us for support, and many are working on improving their lives. So, while their stories are true, client names and images may have been changed to protect their privacy. Thank you for understanding.


Donors’ contributions have made it possible for YES to reimagine our services, ensuring that young clients not only receive individualized support but also benefit from the collective strength of their families. Please consider making a gift today to continue to provide children, youth, and families with services like the multi-family DBT Group that support their mental health and recovery.

Thanks to donations like yours, no family is turned away because they can’t afford to pay for services.

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