When you’re looking for support for your teenager, you have one goal in mind: getting them the best possible treatment you can.

At Evolve, we understand the process of finding a treatment center that offers effective, evidence-based support designed specifically for adolescents can be daunting. The challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic complicate things. However, you should know that mental health treatment is considered an essential service, and Evolve Treatment Centers are open and supporting teens and families during the pandemic.

The information on this page highlights our programs that utilize a therapeutic approach called Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). DBT is an evidence-based therapy that’s effective for treating various mood and behavior disorders in adolescents.

If your teen experiences:

We encourage you to consider a DBT program at Evolve.

For more information about our
treatment programs for teens

What is DBT?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a data-driven treatment that helps turn extreme, negative, life-interrupting behaviors into effective, positive, life-affirming ones.

Evidence shows DBT works for adolescents. Teens who participate in DBT programs learn actionable, practical skills to improve their lives. Dialectical Behavior Therapy for teens includes five core modules:

  1. Mindfulness: Increasing awareness and focus in the present moment
  2. Emotion Regulation: Navigating up-and-down emotions
  3. Interpersonal Effectiveness: Managing relationships
  4. Distress tolerance: Tolerating difficult emotions safely, reduce suffering through reality acceptance
  5. The Middle Path: Finding the balance between two extremes

This approach is proven effective for teens who need significant support as they learn to process out-of-control emotions, reduce impulsivity, improve self-awareness, and manage safe relationships.

Four decades of clinical evidence shows DBT is effective in treating all the mental health disorders listed above. Adolescents with high emotional sensitivity and high reactivity respond well to DBT – and for teens with severe emotional dysregulation, DBT is often the only therapy that works.

We offer two types of DBT programs: Comprehensive DBT programs and DBT-Informed programs. The difference between a comprehensive DBT program and a DBT-Informed program is the structure: during a comprehensive DBT program, teens follow a specific, systematic therapeutic sequence, within which DBT is the primary mode of therapy. Our comprehensive program includes the four essential components listed below.

DBT-informed programs, on the other hand, utilize DBT skills training in conjunction with other treatments, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing, and others.  Both types of programs are effective for teens, but some teens benefit from a DBT comprehensive program, while others benefit from a DBT-informed program.

Comprehensive DBT: Evolve Vanalden

Evolve Vanalden is one of the only Residential Treatment Centers in the U.S. that offers a Comprehensive DBT program for adolescents. Treatment is delivered by expert, experienced clinicians trained in DBT techniques specific to the Comprehensive DBT model created by the founder of DBT, Dr. Marsha Linehan. In addition to their intensive DBT training, our clinicians engage in ongoing, DBT-specific professional development to ensure they’re up to speed on current best DBT practices and methods.

Our Comprehensive DBT for teens program at Vanalden includes all four core components of DBT:

  1. Individual therapy: In an individual session, therapists use DBT as the primary therapeutic modality. In between sessions, therapists instruct teens to track their own emotions and behavior using the DBT Diary Card.
  2. Skills training: Teens learn the five core modules of DBT together with peers. Each group session focuses on one of the core modules. After each session, the facilitator will give homework. This homework usually consists of practicing and applying a certain DBT skill independently before the next class.
  3. Skills coaching: When a teen experiences intense emotions and/or crisis urges, they can request skills coaching from a Residential Counselor. This is important when a teen has an urge to engage in target behaviors or needs help in implementing a coping skill. The coaching most often includes helping the teen problem-solve using DBT techniques they’ve covered in individual and group therapy sessions.
  4. Consultation team: Evolve Vanalden staff meets weekly to assist one another with problem-solving, providing validation, assessing, and maintaining empathy. The primary goals of the consultation teams are to enhance the motivation and capabilities of our DBT providers. All staff at Evolve Vanalden practice DBT skills in their own lives, so they are able to authentically model them for the teens they support.

Each component of a DBT comprehensive program supports the other. Individual therapy sessions help teens reinforce and apply what they learn in skills groups. Skills coaching teaches teens to apply the skills they learn in skills training. DBT consultation teams collaborate to ensure every one of our teens receives DBT support appropriate for them. The DBT consultation team also includes self-reflection on our clinicians’ part and evaluation by clinical leadership: we ensure our clinicians learn and grow as professionals as they facilitate learning, healing, and growth in our adolescent clients.

What is a DBT-Informed Program?

DBT-informed at Evolve provides a strong skills-training component, along with evidence-based treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing, and others. The combination of therapeutic approaches in each treatment plan depends on the adolescent’s specific needs in treatment. Research shows that DBT skills training can reduce suicidality, self-harming behavior, depression, and anxiety for teens.

DBT-Informed Programs at Evolve

We offer DBT-informed programs at the following locations:

Which DBT Program is Best for My Teen?

Since every teen is unique, every DBT program at Evolve is unique. A Comprehensive DBT program may be appropriate for some teens, while others may benefit from the variety of therapeutic approaches a DBT-Informed program offers.

All DBT programs at Evolve have the same goal: to help teens change extreme, negative, life-interrupting patterns of thought, emotion, and behavior into effective, positive, life-affirming ones.

Ready to Get Help for Your Child?

Evolve offers CARF and Joint Commission accredited treatment for teens with mental health disorders and/or substance abuse. Your child will receive the highest caliber of care in our comfortable, home-like residential treatment centers. We offer a full continuum of care, including residential, partial hospitalization/day (PHP), and intensive outpatient treatment (IOP).
To speak with our admissions coordinators, call: (800) 665-4769