• Residential Treatment Center for Teens 14-17

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Used in Experiential Groups

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Used in Experiential Groups

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Used in Experiential Groups 1696 2560 se_admin

It’s no surprise that teens often struggle with actively participating in group therapy sessions, as it is difficult for them to talk about their feelings. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is a successful model, often used in group therapy, that offers a variety of strategies to help teens cope. Students are encouraged to use diary cards to remind them of how they’ve used these skills throughout the week, however, it is harder to remember to apply them in the moment. Solstice East offers a weekly Experiential DBT group that is focused on team-building initiatives to encourage teens to practice these skills in action.

What is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy?

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is a type of therapy used to help clients manage self-destructive behaviors, problematic relational patterns, and overwhelming emotions. It is based on the concept that a person’s actions make sense within the context of their personal experiences without necessarily agreeing that they are the best approach to solving the problem. Each area includes a number of skills that help teens come up with an action plan when facing a difficult situation.

  • Emotion Regulation. Students learn to determine when and why they develop overwhelming emotions and how to better manage those emotions.
  • Distress Tolerance. These skills focus on managing highly upsetting, distressful situations with effectiveness and resilience. 
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness. These skills help students express their beliefs and feelings effectively.  We teach students how to set limits, be assertive, and problem-solve to develop meaningful relationships.
  • Mindfulness. Students learn to stay “in the moment”, become more aware, and focus less on the negatives and more on the positives.  



Specialty Group Options

“Typically, our specialty groups are centered around discussion topics and students are divided into groups based on their individual needs. While this personalized approach is beneficial for teens, students who struggle with learning differences and social communication benefit from a more hands-on approach that helps them understand the value of psychoeducation in their everyday lives,” explains Adventure Therapy Specialist Dan Horseman. 

For this reason, some of our specialty groups are more interactive to encourage students to engage. We also integrate elements of group therapy into off-campus outings and adventure activities by encouraging teens to reflect on their experiences. Group therapy helps students build trust with each other and develop closer bonds.

Examples of specialty groups offered at Solstice East include:

  • Adoption
  • Grief and loss
  • Trauma
  • Body image
  • Depression
  • Substance Abuse
  • Equine Therapy
  • Relationship Processing Groups
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy

DBT Experiential Group For Every Student

Experiential Specialty Groups involve every team and multiple therapists, which gives teens the opportunity to focus on broader themes, like communication, teamwork, group dynamics, and leadership. 

“We’ll choose experiential activities and pair them with a topic, like healthy boundaries, and give students the opportunity to practice those boundaries in a structured way,” describes Horseman. “We start with psychoeducation about the topic for all the teams and then break up into team-building initiatives. Then, we debrief with students and point out what we have noticed, celebrating successes and encouraging students to practice certain skills.” 

Many students who have made progress in their daily lives are pushed out of their comfort zone whenever they participate in these experiential activities. When deeper patterns in how they respond to situations and how they feel about themselves are revealed, it gives them insight into topics they may want to work through in sessions. Lessons are then integrated into weekly off-campus activities, community service, and adventure camping trips to provide a context for students to apply these skills in real-life settings.

Solstice East Can Help 

Solstice East is a residential treatment center for young women ages 14-18 struggling with depression, anxiety, trauma, and addictive behaviors. This program focuses on helping young women heal, recover, and integrate healthy habits into their lives. Students will learn to build healthy relationships, cope with emotions, and effectively communicate. Solstice East gives young women the skills and confidence they need to lead happy and healthy lives. We can help your family today!

Contact us at  828-759-5909 to learn more about experiential therapy.