CBT and DBT for Teens and Preteens

Middle school is often a particularly complicated and challenging time of transition for both children and their caregivers. During this stage of development, young adolescents struggle with their competing desires for increased independence and continued parental support. It is a time of self-exploration and identity development, in which youth often test limits and become more withdrawn and/or oppositional. Peer relationships are paramount, but social interactions become more nuanced, creating difficulties for children who may never have experienced social challenges before. Finally, the academic environment changes; expectations increase and new skills are required. The Middle School Program includes a variety of interventions geared toward addressing the unique needs of young adolescents ages 10-14 and their caregivers.

Targeted Challenges:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Social Difficulties
    • Social anxiety
    • Social skills deficits
    • Being bullied
  • School Avoidance/Refusal
  • Academic Challenges
    • Organization difficulties
    • Test anxiety
    • Under performance
  • Aggressive/Defiant Behavior



Individual Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is an empirically supported and time-limited treatment that focuses on the connection between one’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Your middle school age child will attend weekly sessions in order to develop effective coping skills to address current emotional and/or behavioral challenges. Your child will be assigned weekly homework in order to facilitate the use of learned skills outside of the therapy office. Caregiver participation is integrated into treatment so that effective environmental interventions can be executed.

Group Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Youth will have the opportunity to engage in weekly CBT groups with peers experiencing similar challenges. Participating in treatment with others is beneficial for many reasons, such as normalizing mental health challenges, providing opportunities to learn from peers, creating a supportive and accepting social community, and generalizing skills and therapeutic gains. Groups targeting various challenges will be offered based on community interest and clinician’s expertise. Potential groups include the following: social anxiety/social skills, OCD, specific phobia, test anxiety, time management/organizational skills, and children of divorce.

Adolescent Social Anxiety Group is an 8-week CBT social skills group, led by William Benson, Psy.D., and designed to help teenagers navigate new and challenging social environments. Participants will learn coping skills to reduce anxiety and increase confidence and will have the opportunity to practice those skills within a small and supportive community.

Parenting Groups

Parents will have the opportunity to participate in weekly CBT-oriented parenting interventions with parents of children with similar difficulties. Parents will have the opportunity to develop skills to most effectively manage their child’s emotional distress and/or behavioral challenges. The group format provides the opportunity to receive support and suggestions from other caregivers with similar challenges, as well as practice skills with one another. Groups targeting various challenges will be offered based on the interests and needs of caregivers, as well as clinician’s expertise. Potential parenting groups include the following: parenting a child with increased anxiety, parenting a child with oppositional behavior, and parenting a child with ADHD.

Parenting a Child With Anxiety is an 8-week workshop series for caregivers of children who are experiencing increased anxiety or have a previously diagnosed anxiety disorder.  Learn more here.

Parent Nights

Monthly workshops open to the community and free of charge. Each workshop will focus on a different topic pertinent to raising a middle school age child. Caregivers will receive information based on the latest research, resources to use at home, and the opportunity to ask experts questions. Topics include: how do you know if your child would benefit from mental health services, choosing the right treatment for your child, cyber safety, bullying, body image and puberty, test anxiety, and communicating with schools.

Comprehensive Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a multi-component treatment developed by Marsha M. Linehan to treat problems in emotion regulation. It balances the use of change techniques from cognitive-behavior therapy with acceptance strategies. It is designed to address skill deficits in affect regulation, impulse control, assertiveness, and distress tolerance. In children, these issues commonly present as:

  • Self-injurious behaviors
  • Impulsive/disruptive behaviors
  • School refusal/truancy
  • Eating disordered behaviors
  • Anger management difficulties
  • Persistent peer conflict
  • Mood swings
  • Suicidality

DBT Multifamily Skills Group for Middle School Students

CBT/DBT Associates offers a DBT Multifamily Skills Group for students attending middle school (grades 5 through 8). This once per week 90-minute group is led by Alison Bellevue, Psy.D. Over the course of 18 weeks, middle schoolers and their parents learn skills to help them better manage their emotions, tolerate distress, and interact more effectively with others.

This group covers the following skills training modules:

  • Mindfulness
  • Emotion regulation
  • Distress tolerance
  • Interpersonal effectiveness
  • Walking the middle path

Every Monday from 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM, starting Spring 2020

Register here to get started or call us at 212-546-9200.