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Why We Make the Difference for Kids and Teens

A teenage girl is on her computer with her headphones on as she blocks out what her parent is trying to communicate with her expressing why we make the difference in kids and teens

Raising children is one of life’s most essential and rewarding tasks, but you know as well as anyone that it can be challenging. Even for the most prepared and well-intentioned parents, there are times when your kids and teens may struggle with behavior, confidence, school-related issues, or social anxiety.

At these moments—when you feel like you’ve tried everything to help your children—our team of talented professionals at Suffolk DBT are here to make a difference and are changing teen therapy on Long Island and in NYC for the better. Our unique combination of therapeutic techniques, evidence-based interventions, and hands-on support can help unlock your kids’ potential to become their best selves.

In this blog post, we’ll explore how our team of professionals uses Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills to help kids and teenagers thrive. We’ll look at strategies to manage anxiety in teens and how DBT can be used specifically for children with autism—as well as how these practices can help adolescents succeed in school, build confidence, and lead happier lives.


Introducing Dialectical Behavior Therapy

When supporting your kids’ mental health, sometimes building a strong foundation is the key—just like building a house requires solid foundations.

At its core, DBT is rooted in a genuine belief that all people can improve their lives—and that when given the right tools, they can do just that. These tools come in the form of learned skills that address core social and emotional requirements like mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotional regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.

Teaching particular DBT skills to kids and helping your child practice them over time will equip them with the foundations for long-term positive change—whether they have an autism or anxiety diagnosis or want to boost self-confidence and succeed in school. Developing these skills at a young age can also help your child gain control over their emotions and remain resilient during challenging times.

Tailoring DBT for Kids with Autism

When kids have autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or high-functioning autism, the world can seem difficult to navigate. That’s where DBT comes in. DBT for autism is specially tailored to their needs—helping them make sense of the world around them and teaching them how to cope in different social situations.

At our practice, our therapists are specially trained to work with kids and teens with autism. We use an approach designed just for them, focusing on the following:

  • Self-Esteem: Helping kids with ASD understand their strengths and building on those skills to feel more confident in themselves and their abilities.
  • Emotional Regulation: Teaching children with ASD how to identify and handle a range of emotions.
  • Interpersonal Relationships: Showing kids with ASD how to interact confidently with peers and handle tense situations.
  • Adaptive Living Skills: Develop routines for everyday activities, like school and home life, so children with ASD can feel comfortable and safe in familiar spaces.

Applying DBT to Teens with Anxiety

As parents of anxious teens, you know how difficult it can be to figure out what to do. That’s why we use DBT to help teens develop the skills to cope with stress and fear. With DBT, your teen can learn to accept their emotions, stay grounded in the present moment, and develop skills for communication and problem-solving. DBT skills for teens can support them as they navigate these tumultuous years.

The four modules of DBT

For anxious teens primarily, DBT skills for kids can provide an invaluable roadmap for developing greater self-awareness, and is split into four modules:

  1. Mindfulness
  2. Distress Tolerance
  3. Emotion Regulation
  4. Interpersonal Effectiveness

By utilizing these four modules in our sessions with teens, we work with our clients to gain better insight into themselves and their anxiety—ultimately leading to improved mental health and a more prosperous future!

Increasing Confidence With DBT

For teens, building confidence through problem-solving and practice can be motivating. DBT has been scientifically proven to help teens increase their self-worth and belief in their abilities.

DBT skills for kids teach teenagers core skills that are key for any successful outcome—like learning how to make better decisions, complete tasks, handle emotions, and reinforce positively interacting with others. It’s a great way to build a sense of accomplishment and resilience.

Here are some examples of the core DBT modules and how they are especially helpful for teens with anxiety:

  1. A teenage boy is taking a selfie of himself with his phone with headphones off and around his neckMindfulness: Awareness of thoughts and feelings without judging them helps calm your teen’s anxious mind.
  2. Emotion Regulation: Teens learn how to understand and manage intense emotions in healthy ways instead of letting emotions control them.
  3. Distress Tolerance: Teens learn the value of accepting negative experiences and staying strong when faced with adversity.
  4. Interpersonal Effectiveness: We teach teens how to build healthy relationships with others while still keeping true to their values and beliefs—and they can even practice role-playing social scenarios!

Harnessing Focus and Self-Control With DBT

Do you ever feel like your child is a boat adrift at sea, reacting to the swell of moods, emotions, and feelings? A DBT approach can also help kids stay focused amid chaos. In addition, it provides skills that facilitate acceptance and change, which is vital when parenting children and teens.

Creating Balance

The key to DBT is balance—to help your child recognize that there are both wise and unwise elements in any situation. They can discover how to be both an observer of their emotions and participators in life’s activities with enough self-control to think before they act while still owning their emotions.

Building Self-Awareness

This self-awareness will help them recognize what works for them—what helps foster calmness—and make changes accordingly. Then, with practice, they’ll develop techniques to find focus in challenging situations, even when feeling overwhelmed. DBT is also invaluable for autistic kids who need assistance building relationships with others, anxious teens who need methods for managing intense emotions, and those looking for confidence and success in school and life.

By building self-awareness, your child will feel more equipped to understand the triggers for their stressors and make appropriate decisions about how best to respond—allowing them to make a difference in their lives.

A teenage girl is taking a selfie with her golden retriever in the woods representing how and why we make the difference for kids and teens

Long-Term Support for Mental Health Wellness

It can be difficult for parents to navigate the challenging process of supporting their children’s mental health and helping them to thrive. However, long-term support for mental health wellness is key, and that’s why we make the difference for kids and teens.

We proudly offer expert care and support services through our offices in NYC and on Long Island. In addition, mental health care gives your child access to valuable resources, such as:

  • Evidence-based practices for managing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other emotions
  • DBT skills are explicitly tailored to kids with autism, anxious teens, or teens looking to boost their confidence
  • A holistic approach to physical health—including exercise, diet, sleep habits, and more—to help improve outcomes

By providing long-term support, we allow children and teens to gain more control over their thoughts and emotions, feel better equipped to handle life stressors and essential access resources needed for mental health wellness.

Children and teens must feel seen, heard, and supported as they navigate life’s challenges. We make a difference for every kid and teen by understanding their unique challenges and providing them with the tools and support they need to thrive. We’ve seen firsthand the positive, lasting impact DBT skills can have on kids and teens. So, give teen therapy on Long Island a chance and provide your child with the skills and resources needed for a brighter, healthier future – contact us today to get started with NY family therapy that supports healthy change.

Suffolk DBT proudly provides quality dialectical behavior therapy, a form of cognitive behavioral therapy, at their offices in Manhattan and Long Island, New York and online. Their experienced NYC therapists specialize in serving teens, children, adults, and college students struggling with depression, borderline personality disorder, eating disorders, and self-harm. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) skills and treatment can help you or your kids to manage emotions and work through life’s challenges.

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