Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Children ages 7 to 12
Created by Dr. Francheska Perepletchikova, Dr. Kalsner is one of the first clinicians in the country to be trained in the innovative DBT-Child program for children ages 7 to 12. DBT-C is intended for children who exhibit ADHD, self-harm urges, and disruptive behavior problems. The DBT-Child program involves weekly individualized parent training in DBT skills followed by weekly individual skills sessions for the child. The program empowers parents to feel more effective in managing challenging behavior problems in their children while also strengthening the parent-child relationship.
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CAN DBT HELP YOUNG CHILDREN?
Exciting and compelling research by Dr. Francheska Pereplechikova demonstrates that learning DBT skills in childhood can have promising results and significantly reduce a child’s risk of developing more severe psychological problems later in life.
Research demonstrates that Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is effective in treating emotional dysregulation in both adolescents and adults. DBT programs are now offered in most major cities around the country and the typical DBT program includes an Adolescent or Adult DBT group, multifamily or parent group, and individual therapy. In recent years, innovative breakthroughs have emerged in DBT to help children between the ages of 7 and 12 learn DBT skills. The skills education includes a specialized model that involves first training the parents and then working collaboratively with the child to learn DBT skills.
The DBT-Child model is intended for children who are Supersensors. Supersensors are children who have a higher level of emotional sensitivity, sensory sensitivity and have extreme thinking styles (Black and White). Supersensors may be more impulsive, hyper-reactive, and dislike change or transitions. They experience their emotions at a higher level than the average child. At the same time, they may be wired with other emotional advantages such as increased empathy, creativity and may pick up on things in their environment that other people miss.
However, parents of Supersensor children can feel confused and unsure of how to meet the needs of their child. They can feel discouraged and blame themselves for not knowing how to parent these children and consequently, feel a sense of shame or doubt. Importantly, parents of Supersensor children need to understand that Supersensor children have both advantages and disadvantages. Instinctual parenting may not be good enough and these parents often need extra training in parenting skills. Fortunately, parents can learn how to become Superparents and become the tool of change while creating a validating home environment.
The DBT-Child model teaches parents how to be Superparents by first focusing on teaching the parents behavioral modification techniques, validation skills and contingency management to help manage behavior problems and incentivizes children to use coping skills and strategies. Together with the parent, the child learns new skills for managing intense emotions and the parent-child relationship is significantly improved. Most critically, the developmental trajectory is altered so that the child’s pathway through adolescence and adulthood is more adaptive and risk factors for future emotional difficulties are significantly reduced.
If you would like to learn more about our DBT-Child program, please contact Dr. Lydia Kalsner-Silver at 305-866-3579.
Kalsner Psychology Center offers dialectic behavior therapy in Miami and dialectical behavior therapy Weston Broward, which is used in treating eating disorders, severe anxiety or depression. We have psychologists in Miami Beach serving the surrounding area. Visit us at kalsnerpsych.com for more information about dialectic behavior therapy in Miami.