Wisdom Within Counseling, LLC, A Niantic, CT Counseling Practice. Marriage and Family Therapy. Brian’s Healing Hearts. 461 Main St. Niantic, CT 06357. Call/Text 860- 451-9364. KatieZiskindMft@gmail.com.
Why Do Teens Self-Harm?
To start, adolescent males and females self- harm and injure themselves for a number of reasons. Yes, males self-harm too! Most often, females are watched for self-harming. Men also may develop an eating disorder. Read more, here. Regarding self-harm, DBT can be very helpful and the most effective treatment! Let’s start from the beginning.
The Teenage Brain Focuses on Emotions
For instance, a teenage female was feeling overwhelmed, highly anxious, and guilty over a recent conflict with friends. Unknowingly, her parents were focused on helping her get to school, asked her to do her chores, helped her improve her grades from B’s to A’s, and were focusing on organizing other children’s schedules.
Teens Are Helped Through Highly Effective, DBT Skills
Even though she gets mostly A’s and some B’s, her algebra teacher had assigned her class loads of extra homework. Then, let’s add some personal conflict. Her best friend just came out that she is gay and then decided she was not speaking to her because of a recent blowup. This adolescent is now torn between wanting to help and being pushed away. She also had just begun 9th grade felt alone, guilty for her friend not talking to her, and afraid of the future. Even though this young adult has lots of support from family and other peers, in her adolescent brain, she feels “stuck,” and sees no other option besides self-harm/cutting.
Teenage Years: A Time of High Emotion
Additionally, adolescence and teen years are naturally a time of intense, dramatic feelings as well as high anxiety. In the teenage brain, these feelings are most often caused by things that happen during the day, such as a fright with a friend, being bullied, a break up, or even being effected by watching parents fight. Then, these overwhelming, powerful feelings can lead a teen to feel helpless and powerless. Deep emotions may be caused by over thinking about a past even, as well as worrying about a future event including, a huge dance recital or finals.
How I Help Your Teen Stop Self-Harming Through DBT?
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) teaches adolescents and teenagers who self-harm positive coping skills, self-regulation, and how to set healthy boundaries with stress that isn’t necessary for them to carry. DBT works exceptionally well with teenagers who self-harm, cut, were hospitalized in the past, and who attempted suicide in the past.
Investing In Education For Your Teen: DBT at Wisdom Within Counseling in Niantic, CT
I integrate DBT into my practice, Wisdom Within Counseling, to help adolescents, teens, and young adults develop a healthier body image, improve self-confidence, and increase effective coping skills when it comes to being triggered. DBT includes skill-based activities in sessions and DBT homework, which reinforces what the adolescents and teens learn in sessions and DBT groups.
Teens are given education about how to stop-self harming/cutting as well as an opportunity to develop conflict resolution skills, build positive social connections, and learn about sustainable, healthier ways to respond to emotional stress!
What Does DBT Do For Teens Who Self-Harm/Cut?
Adolescents and teenagers who take part in DBT learn their feelings can be, “a part” of them, rather an all of them. Then, emotions that once seemed unmanageable and overwhelming soon become an opportunity for personal growth. In DBT, teens develop lifelong skills for effectively handling personal conflicts that may arise in middle school, high school, and college years. These conflict were once triggers for self-harming behavior. However, through DBT, teens learn they have a variety of other positive skills to use to handle the difficult situation. Through the DBT modules, adolescents and teenagers learn that emotions will pass and they are temporary.
Their new “toolbox” of DBT skills can be used anytime outside of therapy sessions and groups for self-care and to help them gain back control to live a life they love!