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YES’ Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) Program

Lidia Harding
Blog For parents Youth and Family Counseliing
DBT class at YES

At Youth Eastside Services (YES), thanks to the generous support of our community, 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. Young clients like Chloe have the opportunity to participate in a 16-week DBT program that teaches scientifically proven skills that help teens manage emotions and reduce suicidality and self-harm behaviors, as well as depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders. 

YES’ DBT program consists of 16 weeks of individual therapy with a DBT-certified therapist, and a weekly “skills group” facilitated by a DBT-certified Behavioral Health Specialist. Each week the skills group focuses on teaching two skills that empower teens to better handle their emotions and build more effective relationships through:

  • 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.

“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 the way they look, interpret and engage with the world around them,” says Liz Ludwig YES Co-occurring Disorders Therapist, DBT Program Coordinator.

And it’s increasingly important to be able to provide these services to all youth, regardless of their or their family’s ability to pay. Research has shown that people who live in poverty are at higher risk for mental illnesses and that the mental illnesses are more severe, last longer and have worse outcomes.

“Many kids that access our DBT services are from low-income families that normally wouldn’t have access to these valuable skills. They are the kids that need it most,” says Liz. “Their home lives are stressful with financial struggles, and they aren’t able to find the emotional support they need.”

At YES, we look forward to continuing to work with the East King County community to increase access to this effective mental health therapy. A huge thank-you to our community partners who make DBT possible.


 

If you or someone you know (age birth to 22) is struggling with anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, bullying or other issues related to mental health we now provide “drop-in” virtual Open Access services. You can also contact us to schedule an appointment at 425-747-4937.

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