Application of Dialectical Behavior Therapy to Suicidality in Adolescents
Available with English captions and subtitles in Spanish.
Blaise Aguirre, MD, McLean Hospital, presents as part of the 2022 Suicide-Focused Assessment and Treatment: An Update for Professionals course.
DBT, Adolescents, and Suicide
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) implements aspects of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) combined with acceptance strategies and mindfulness.
From a clinical perspective, Aguirre explains how DBT is a powerful tool in reducing suicidality in adolescents.
Watch now to learn more about:
- How DBT was developed
- Why DBT skills are effective in preventing suicide
- How clinicians can address the myths of suicide
DBT helps young people develop emotional regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance, and the ability to mentalize.
Aguirre states that the therapy prioritizes treating a patient’s suicidality.
“If you keep chasing symptoms, it’s going to be a very long therapy,” Aguirre said. “So, the idea in dialectical behavior therapy is to target the suicidality first and foremost. Yes, you might want to talk about rejection and other concerns, but clinicians have to reduce suicidality and self-injury.”
DBT consists of three treatment targets.
Stage 1 addresses life-endangering behaviors, such as suicidality and self-injury; treatment interfering behaviors, including multiple hospitalizations and missed appointments; and quality of life interfering behaviors, such as substance misuse and multiple sex partners.
Stage 2 utilizes exposure therapy and emotional processing of the past.
Stage 3 works to build a life worth living by increasing self-respect and creating individual life goals.