Teen Thrive: Building Emotional Resilience

Helping highly sensitive teens build a life worth living

Who Is It For?

A 24-Week DBT program for helping adolescents and families manage big emotions

This program is for teens, and their families, who struggle with intense emotions, destructive or impulsive urges and behaviors, and relationship problems. Our TeenThrive program uses Dialectical Behavior Therapy as the foundation for learning skills and repairing relationships.

Who Can It Help?

  • Teens (13-18) who are highly sensitive, easily triggered and engage in problematic behaviors when they experience big emotions or beliefs.
  • Teens who have a history of self-harm and/or suicidal thoughts/attempts who are looking for long-term effective coping skills (self-harm can also be skin picking, scratching, etc.).
  • Teens who act impulsively when experiencing intense emotions or beliefs (behaviors like binging/purging, substance use, excessive arguing with family and friends, skipping school, avoiding social experiences, etc.)
  • Teens who have not progressed in standard therapy for approximately 3-4 months and appear to be escalating their ineffective or unhealthy behaviors such as school/work avoidance, risk-taking behaviors, high levels of conflict or avoidance, etc.

If your teen has struggled with the following concerns, our program is likely a great fit: 

  • Healing from substance abuse
  • Healing from eating disorders
  • Battling major depression or anxiety
  • Maintaining impulse control
  • Coping with bipolar disorder
  • Engaging in self-damaging behaviors
  • Managing intense anger or destructive behaviors
  • Extreme emotions or behaviors 
  • Living productively with ADHD

What You Learn

The program uses the five core modules of DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) to treat emotional instability and severe behavioral symptoms

Core Mindfulness

Learning self-awareness of your thoughts, feelings, sensations or interactions rather than letting your mind be in control of you.

Emotion Regulation

These skills help you understand the emotions you experience and what purpose they serve, reduce intense emotional dysregulation, and decrease suffering.

Walking the Middle Path

Middle Path skills help you see how there’s more than one way to view a situation, how to
honor the truth on both sides of a conflict, and how to influence behavior change.

Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills

This set of skills helps you keep and maintain healthy relationships, negotiate for something you want, and maintaining your self-respect

Distress Tolerance

These are skills to use when pain can’t be avoided and you don’t want to engage in impulsive behaviors that would make matters worse.

Benefits

  • Teens will learn how to communicate more effectively.
  • Teens will learn how to get through crisis situations without acting on impulse or making the  situation more painful. 
  • Teens will learn ways to be more mindful and present in the moment, ultimately becoming more  self-aware of their experiences to influence their emotions.
  • Parents and caregivers will have their own set of tools to manage stress and get out of a cycle of reaction/crisis

What Will I Do?

TeenThrive combines individual therapy, skills training, and coaching for both the teen and the family.

Teens and parents attend a weekly Skills Training Class focused on teaching them behavioral skills. This is run like a class where the facilitator teaches various skills. After each class, the skills trainer will give homework. This homework usually is using a certain DBT skill before the next class.  Class meets 1.5 hours and takes 24 weeks to accomplish the full curriculum, which is often repeated to create a 1-year program. 

Individual therapy takes place once a week for approximately 50 minutes and runs concurrently with skills groups.In an individual session, therapists use DBT as the intervention to help them apply the skills they learn in a group and to stay motivated for treatment. In between sessions, therapists instruct teens to track their own emotions and behavior using the DBT Diary Card.

When a teen has intense emotion or harmful urges, they can ask for phone coaching through a secure line. This is important when a teen needs help in using a coping skill. The coaching most often includes helping the teen problem-solve or validating of their efforts to cope. Clients can call their individual therapist between sessions to receive coaching via a 10-15 minute phone call or texting at the times when they need help the most. This is also available to parents participating in the skills class.

Our DBT consultation team meets weekly to improve the motivation and abilities of our DBT providers. Teens have the benefit of the knowledge and experience of the whole team, in addition to their own provider. TeenThrive’s team is multidisciplinary and consists of highly specialized psychologists, marriage and family therapists, social workers, and professional counselors with specific certification and training.

How Much Does It Cost?

Our program follows a tuition-based model. This means, just like a community college class, you pay tuition for access during a specific period of time.

For the Skills Training Class, weekly tuition is $65/person.
There is a one-time materials fee of $35/person.

The weekly individual sessions therapy can be billed to your insurance company, if you have insurance, and we have a DBT clinician available who is in-network. The cost varies according to your insurance policy and clinician.

If insurance isn’t an option, the self-pay individual session fees vary from $135-$185/session.
  Phone coaching is provided as a courtesy to clients in our full-time, comprehensive program. 

How Do I Sign up?

Let us know if you are interested in the Comprehensive DBT program, and an appointment for a free screening call can be made. 

If our program appears to be a good fit for you, we can move forward with a full intake, which can be billed to your insurance (if applicable), and then get you started in the program. 

Frequently Asked Questions

TeenThrive combines individual therapy, skills training, and coaching for both the teen and the family.

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a cognitive behavioral treatment that was originally developed to treat chronically suicidal individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and it is now recognized as the gold standard psychological treatment for this population. In addition, research has shown that it is effective in treating a wide range of other disorders such as substance dependence, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and eating disorders.

DBT is an evidence-based therapy for adolescents with high emotional sensitivity and who are emotionally reactive. For teens with high-risk behaviors, DBT is often the only intervention that works. Four decades of research shows that DBT skills training can reduce suicidality, self-harm, eating disorders, substance abuse, depression, and anxiety for teens.Learn more about the effectiveness of DBT at this link to Behavior Tech’s  DBT Research Trials. Learn more about the importance of what to look for in a DBT program as a parent.Some additional studies listed below for your reference. 

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30029741/ “Significant reductions in both BPD-specific and transdiagnostic psychiatric symptoms were found. Quality of life improved. DBT skills use notably increased and dysfunctional coping scores declined inversely. Fewer clients tended to use crisis services and visit the ER.”
  2. https://bpded.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/2051-6673-1-20 “Patients significantly improved regarding self-injurious behaviors, number of inpatient hospital stays, severity of borderline symptoms and psychopathology. At the end of the first treatment year, 77% of the patients no longer met criteria for BPD diagnosis. Fewer therapy discontinuations by patients were observed when therapists participated in consultation teams.”
  3. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/209726 Dialectical behavior therapy was associated with better outcomes in the intent-to-treat analysis than community treatment by experts in most target areas during the 2-year treatment and follow-up period. Subjects receiving DBT were half as likely to make a suicide attempt, required less hospitalization for suicide ideation, and had lower medical risk across all suicide attempts and self-injurious acts combined. Subjects receiving DBT were less likely to drop out of treatment and had fewer psychiatric hospitalizations and psychiatric emergency department visits.”
  4. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/361509379 “Diagnostic remission was defined as no longer meeting five DSM-IV criteria for BPD at 24 months assessed using the IPDE. Based on this definition, the diagnostic remission rate was 56% in both conditions with no between-condition differences.”The rate of full or partial recovery from self-harm was 75% for both conditions and no more than 5% deteriorated by end of treatment. Similar findings regarding recovery from self-harm were evident at 24 months.

Yes. Research has demonstrated that parental/caregiver support is vital when working in mental health recovery processes with teens. Skills class must include a parent/caregiver, or if your teen attends our Teen Only class, parents/caregivers must attend the Friends & Family Parent Support Class (12 weeks). Families can also participate together in our Multifamily Skills Class (24 weeks).

CCFC requires periodic parent engagement in the individual sessions as well. The frequency varies and could include joint sessions with your teen, parent update sessions, or portions of sessions to include parents. 

We know that families heal better together, so parents are an active part of our Adolescent DBT treatment. Parents and caregivers need the same skills as teens and learn alongside them in our multifamily skills classes. This helps you create a validating and supportive environment so your teen can thrive. Having our team in your corner helps you escape cycles of crisis with your teen. We can help you create calm instead of chaos.

Traditional “talk therapy” provides clients with a safe place to explore beliefs, feelings, and experiences. Many “DBT” therapists are providing informed DBT of certain skills within their individual sessions. In contrast, our program is fully adherent to the model of Comprehensive DBT and teaches numerous skills to support distress tolerance, emotion regulation, interpersonal communication and ‘finding middle ground,’ as well as personal self-awareness. It also includes regular practice of skills and accountability to do so, in session and between sessions (phone coaching). Finally, this program includes parents and equips them with the same skills, so change can be made in the teen’s home environment to support lasting progress. 

The Skills Training Class is not therapy, it’s a skills class much like a community center might offer a yoga class. As such, it’s not billable to insurance. 

Individual therapy can be billed to your insurance. 

Your individual therapist will discuss the option of completing a second round of Skills Training Class or possibly participating in a graduate group for ongoing support. If we all agree that the teen has mastered the DBT skills and completed the program, they may just continue with weekly individual therapy for maintenance. 

At CCFC, we recognize that “life happens” and sometimes conflicts are unavoidable. However, we require 75% attendance for this treatment to be effective. If a client misses 4 consecutive sessions in one mode of treatment (skills class or individual therapy), or 5 overall missed sessions, they withdraw from the Comprehensive DBT program. Return to the program is negotiable and may after re-assessment and DBT team consultation.

Our Comprehensive DBT Adolescent Program includes all four core components of DBT: Individual therapy:, Skills training:, Phone coaching, and Consultation team. Each component of a DBT comprehensive program supports the other. 

Since every teen is unique, there is not a one size fits all answer. A Comprehensive DBT program may be appropriate for some teens, especially if they present with life threatening or self-destructive behaviors. DBT helps teens change extreme, negative, life-threatening behaviors and emotions to positive, life worth living ones.  Learn more about the effectiveness of DBT at this link to Behavior Tech’s  DBT Research Trials. Learn more about the importance of what to look for in a DBT program as a parent.

DBT is ideal for clients and families who struggle with borderline personality traits, bipolar disorder signs and symptoms, and severe anxiety or depression. Clients who want support in learning more effective ways of dealing with big emotional disruptions, impulsive behavior, high conflict, or self-harming urges can benefit from DBT. 

Because the basis of DBT is learning new skills, this takes time to “unlearn to relearn” new behaviors. Many of our clients report initial improvements within the first 3 months of treatment, some struggle more and see more improvement closer to their completion of the first 6 months. For this reason, we recommend two rounds of Skills Training class for an entire year of practice and support. 

If your teen already has an individual therapist who has a basic understanding of the 5 Modules and DBT skills taught within the Modules, they are welcome to continue working with them while they attend CCFC’s Skills Training Class. CCFC will collaborate with the individual therapist, and the therapist will be required to sign the “Outside Provider Agreement” which clearly outlines the roles and responsibilities of the individual therapist as well as our Skill Training facilitators. Alternatively, some clients determine they want to switch to a CCFC DBT therapist for ease in collaboration and continuity of support. 

Comprehensive DBT is a perfect treatment option for clients who: 

  1. Want to avoid transitioning to a higher level of care due to the disruption of school, family and social life, OR
  2. Require more intensive support after completing residential, PHP, or IOP levels of care. 

Mental health progress will involve ups and downs and lapses in effective skills are common. Your individual therapist will help you and your teen see and solve obstacles. Here at CCFC, we welcome parents providing information about concerns, loss of motivation, or obstacles the DBT team might not be fully aware of. 

Most clients and parents tend to have some discomfort when starting the DBT program and this is to be expected. We encourage discussing these concerns with the individual therapist you’re working with to develop a plan of action or tools to manage the discomfort. Sometimes, if appropriate, we might agree to a 3-4 week trial of the program and collectively determine if it’s proving beneficial enough to continue. We find most clients choose to continue and improve.

  • Teens who do not agree that their behaviors are problematic 
  • Teens who do not want to see an individual therapist (Skills group is NOT therapy) 
  • Teens who are not willing to engage in a group experience 
  • Teens who want a process group (this is a classroom like setting with assignments). We do occasionally offer process groups for teens with lesser emotional or behavioral challenges. 
  • Teens who are unable to tolerate 90-minutes in a classroom-like setting 
  • Teens with restrictive eating patterns or substance use as a primary concern 
  • Teens with OCD/severe social anxiety as a primary concern

DBT-informed programs combine DBT skills training with other treatments, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy, or others.  The primary individual therapist may or may not be trained in DBT and may not have a consultation team. 

Your teen will be able to handle intense emotions more effectively. They will have tools to use instead of making problems worse by self-harming, blowing up, or avoiding. They will practice expressing themselves with effective communication. Your teen will be able to think rationally about problems, instead of responding to emotions. As a parent or caregiver, you’ll learn just what to say when your teen shows intense emotions. You will learn what behaviors to be worried about, and what behaviors are typical in teens. You will walk away with your own set of self-soothing skills to make it through hard moments and manage parenting stress. The practical tools you will learn will help you create real, lasting changes in behavior and family relationships. Our DBT program will give you confidence in your ability to help your teen make healthy choices and stop self-destructive behaviors.  In short: dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is beneficial for you, your child, and your family – as a whole!

Connections CFC has the ONLY comprehensive DBT adolescent program in Montgomery County and North Houston.  We believe you and your family deserve the fully adherent DBT model to experience truly transformational treatment. Here are some good reasons why we are the best fit for your DBT treatment.

  • We provide complete and comprehensive DBT, are adherent to the model, and have Linehan-trained therapists specializing in teens and families.  
  • We have a multidisciplinary team that includes psychologists, marriage and family therapists, licensed clinical social workers, and counselors. 
  • Our team has a variety of additional specialty training to address co-existing issue such as trauma or eating disorders. We have the skills to help your whole family. 
  • We actively involve parents and families in the healing process and equip them with the same skills as their teen.