Adolescent DBT

Does your adolescent struggle with:

  • Impulsivity / Emotion Regulation
  • Chronic Depression / Anxiety
  • Self-Harm
  • Anger Management
  • Excessive Worrying
  • Adolescent / Family Dilemmas
  • Confusion about self
  • Relationship issues
  • Substance abuse
  • Eating Disorders
  • Attention Problems
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 Dialectical Behavior Therapy is an evidence-based cognitive-behavioral therapy that brings results and hope to many young people and their families who are struggling with the above challenges.

How Does Adolescent DBT Work?

DBT treatment is designed to help with extreme emotional instability, which clinicians call “dysregulation” — the inability to manage intense emotions. Dysregulation leads to impulsive, self-destructive, or self-harming behaviors. The goal of DBT is to teach adolescents techniques to help them understand their emotions without judgment — the mindfulness component — and also to give them skills and techniques to manage those emotions and change behaviors in ways that will make their lives better. But it takes work and commitment.

DBT for adolescents involves individual therapy and group skills training, where parents and teenagers learn together.  Other components include telephone consultation (patients are encouraged to call their therapists when they feel the urge to self-harm), family therapy, and weekly consultation team meetings where the therapist checks in with other professionals to consult on the case. DBT requires two weekly appointments: Adolescents will meet once per week for individual therapy. Adolescents 14-17 along with their parent(s) attend a weekly skills group for 2 hours.

Adolescent/ Multifamily Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Group

Minnetonka Counseling offers a 25-week adolescent/multifamily group using Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT).  This is a 25-week long skills group based on the evidenced based practice of Marsha Linehan, PhD. This is for adolescents age 14 -18 years of age. It is recommended that each family complete at least one 25-week rotation.  Some families find that two 25-week rotations are helpful. The adolescent is to be accompanied by a consistent parental figure.  Both parents are invited and welcome to attend, if they choose.  The adolescent AND the parent are expected to participate in the group.  This includes homework and weekly check in.  The skills group is 2 hours long and is broken into the following modules:

  • Mindfulness (a core skill)
  • Middle Path
  • Distress Tolerance
  • Emotion Regulation
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness

In addition to weekly skills group each adolescent is required to attend weekly individual therapy with a clinician willing to adhere to DBT standards and guidelines.  This includes coaching calls between the therapist and adolescent in order to help apply the skills to daily living and real-life situations.  Family or parent sessions are done as needed.  Parents are welcome to have an individual therapist to assist them with skill use but this is not required.

This is a semi-open group with new members adding at the beginning of each new unit as is appropriate.


Individual and group services are both covered by insurance. We take most major insurance companies.

Adolescent DBT group is Saturday from 10:00-12:00 or Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 6:00-8:00pm

Call or email Christina Kress for more details and available group times.  [email protected]   952-223-1300 x 3


What skills does DBT teach?

DBT skills training is very structured; for adolescents, it consists of five modules:

  • Mindfulness skills: Being present in the moment and understanding the signs of unregulated emotions
  • Emotion regulation skills: Coping with difficult situations by building pleasant, self-soothing experiences to protect from emotional extremes. Especially with teenagers, there’s a big focus on the physical body: eating properly, getting enough sleep, taking their medicine and avoiding drug use.
  • Interpersonal effectiveness skills: It’s often interactions with others that are the negative triggers for impulsive behaviors. The purpose is to teach adolescents how to interact more effectively with others, and enable them to feel more supported by others.
  • Distress tolerance skills: It’s being able to recognize urges to do things that would be ineffective, such as hurting themselves or trying to kill themselves and consciously controlling them.
  • Walking the middle path skill: Kids and parents learn how to validate one another, how to compromise and negotiate, and how to see the other person’s side of things. “It has to do with acknowledging multiple truths in the teenagers’ and the parents’ worldview as opposed to ‘I’m right and you’re wrong,’ ” explains Dr. Miller.

Call us to schedule an appointment and start your Life Worth Living 952-223-1300 x 3