Dialectical behaviour therapy with adolescents

Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 04/16/2012

Groves S et al. – The authors conclude that Dialectical behaviour therapy may be effective in treating adolescents with additional disorders and dysfunctional behaviours not yet examined.

Methods

  • Numerous randomised clinical trials conducted with adults with BPD have demonstrated that DBT is effective in reducing suicidal and non-suicidal self-injurious (NSSI) behaviours.
  • Other research on the use of DBT for adults has shown that the treatment is effective in reducing a variety of problem behaviours in a range of therapeutic settings.
  • In the last decade, a number of studies have evaluated DBT as a promising treatment for adolescents with different psychological disorders and behaviours, including borderline personality disorder (BPD), eating disorders, externalising disorders, and suicidal and NSSI behaviours.
  • This article reviews the literature on the use of DBT with adolescents.

Results

  • Overall findings indicate some empirical support for the conclusion that DBT is a promising treatment for adolescents with BPD symptomatology, suicidal ideation and comorbid depression, bipolar disorder, disordered eating behaviours and aggressive and impulsive behaviours.
  • Adolescents in these studies were also hospitalised less frequently when treated with DBT.
  • Moreover, studies conducted with these populations suggest that DBT may be adapted for use in outpatient, inpatient, community, and residential treatment settings.

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