Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Children
As we continue our dialectical behavior therapy groups for men, women, and adolescence, we know that the skills in areas of mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotional regulation, and interpersonal are effective. Since Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is rooted in mindfulness we have been learning firsthand of all its benefits for those of who practice it regularly. We have also been learning about what neuroplasticity can do for the brain. Thus we are excited to expand our DBT groups to children now to provide them the same opportunities and experience of both mindfulness and neuroplasticity, as well as all the other assets of all the DBT skills.
I often hear about the signs and symptoms of stress on children. Frequent meltdowns, tantrums, worry, anxiety, or even depression can all be some indicators of a child impacted by stress. We know that even young children can be inundated with demands from school and various activities. They can also be impacted by stress through means of electronic media options, from family and peer conflicts, or trauma. Research shows that younger brains tend to be more sensitive and responsive to experiences than older brains.
But we also know that the brain can respond to the generation of new positive experiences and activity. Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to change itself through experience. Research has also indicated that there is a significant amount of change in the brain during the early years of life. As the brain grows it has the ability to reorganize itself.
Excessive stress can damage the architecture of the developing brain, but regular use of mindfulness and other dialectic skills can provide some control in combating this. Mindfulness, which is moment-by-moment non-judgmental focused attention and awareness, can be utilized to form a present centered, objective, and responsive approach to various situations.
Children can increase their awareness of emotions and ways to express them through dialectic behavior therapy. They can learn to modulate the intensity and duration of emotions, as well. Self- regulation of attention and emotions can be gained through regular use of the dialectical skills, as well as flexibility. Also, we know from the research that interaction in social situations and social involvement boosts the general growth of neural connections in the brain. Dialectical behavior therapy involves the development of skills needed for healthy interpersonal relationships.
Wholeness Healing Center will be starting a dialectical behavior therapy group for kids ages 7-10. This group will begin in June and continue through July for a total of 8 weeks. Please contact our office at 308-382-5297 for more information or to get your child registered.
Liou, S. (2010). Neuroplasticity. Neurobiology
Meiklejohn, J., Phillips, C. , Freedman, M.L., Griffin, M.L., Biegel, G., Roach, A., Frank, J., Burke, C., Pinger, L., Soloway, G., Isberg, R., Sibinga, E., Grossman, L., Saltzman, A. (2012). Integrating Mindfulness Training into K-12 Education: Fostering the Resilience of Teachers and Students. Mindfulness. Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.Tags: Children's DBT Groups, Mindfulness for Children, Teaching children emotional regulation
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner
- Jody Johnson, LICSW, LIMHP, began working at Wholeness Healing Center as a therapist in 2007. Jody graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha with her Masters in Social Work. She received her bachelor degree in Social Work from the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
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