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DBT for Adolescents

DBT for Adolescents

While DBT was initially designed to treat adult populations, it has been adapted and is now widely used to support adolescent populations. Research suggests that DBT can be effective for adolescents and their families and that DBT can support adolescents in multiple domains, including improving emotion regulation, depression, self-harm and suicidal behaviours. In DBT adolescents can learn a wide range of coping skills for coping with strong emotions, self-defeating thoughts and interpersonal difficulties.

At DBT Virtual we work with adolescents and their families as we aim to optimize the wellbeing of the adolescent. Our DBT therapists are trained to effectively support adolescents (ages 14-18) who are struggling with emotional, behavioural and interpersonal difficulties. Both individual and group therapy options are available.

Our 12-week DBT skills groups program involves both adolescents and their parent/guardian. Our program involves educating the adolescent's caregiver on effective coping skills so that they may assist the adolescent in using their skills and promote best outcomes in their therapy. It is also recommended that the adolescent either work with one of our therapists or their own therapist throughout the group program to help them apply the skills they are learning.

Self-referrals are accepted. Receipts are provided for reimbursement through your health benefits.

DBT for Adolescents: Services

DBT Skills for Adolescents

In DBT adolescents learn the following skills:


Skills that enhance present moment focus, reduce judgmental thoughts, increase self-compassion and create greater discernment when making decisions.



Skills that help to reduce intense emotions and accept the reality during distressing moments, so that you can get through overwhelming situations by tolerating the distress rather than avoiding it.



Skills that increase your capacity to acknowledge and accept your emotions, reduce unpleasant emotions (i.e. anxiety, anger, shame) and increase the frequency of pleasant ones.

Interpersonal Effectiveness

Skills that improve relationships, communication and interactions with others, while enhancing your ability to navigate challenging interpersonal situations.

Walking the Middle Path

Skills that allow the adolescent and parent to understand and see each other's perspective and work together to find a middle ground.

DBT for Adolescents: Files

What to Expect in DBT

About DBT Therapy

In DBT you will:​

  • Complete weekly diary cards aimed at providing a summary of your emotions, urges and behaviours - a process known to increase motivation for change.

  • Begin to understand yourself better by exploring specific emotional, mental and behavioural patterns in order to discover how to anticipate them and cope more effectively.

  • Learn and practice coping skills that improve the way you experience, manage and express difficult emotions so that they begin to interfere less with your life.

  • Work collaboratively with your therapist to eliminate any barriers to your participation and motivation in therapy, to ensure successful progress in your therapy goals.

DBT Core Components


Using your diary card you will prioritize problematic patterns (behaviours, thoughts and emotions) while your therapist helps you understand their antecedents and consequences. Your therapist will also help you apply coping skills to specific challenges that interfere with your wellbeing and overall quality of life.


Skills coaching calls are intended to help you apply coping skills outside of your therapy sessions. Coaching calls are meant to be brief and skills-focused, providing you with in-the-moment support. Phone coaching is encouraged during moments of emotional distress or when you're anticipating a difficult situation.


These groups are designed to provide you with effective, practical coping strategies to replace unhealthy, problematic behaviours. You will learn skills aimed at managing emotional and interpersonal difficulties. Group members are expected to complete weekly homework tasks that help them solidify their skills practice.

DBT for Adolescents: Insurance
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