Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Preparing for Graduation from DBT

Senior years are exciting, and can seem really long.  Most young people just want to get them over with and move on.  I remember.  Graduating from therapy is a little different.  Still, there is preparation to be made so that the person launching out is ready.

Youngest son had his every-other-week therapy session this morning.  He’s really been doing well.  I’ve written a little bit about Dialectical Behavioral Therapy.  In fact, I picked up a brochure at our local mental health campus this morning and will share its contents below.  Well, to get to the point, we made a plan for Youngest Son to graduate from therapy and community based services.

Beginning in March, he will attend therapy once per month (every 28 days actually).  His community case worker will see him every other week instead of every week.  He will make a plan for his life over the next 6-7 months.  In the summer, his caseworker will cut back to once per month, too.  By the time school starts in the fall, he’ll be on monitor status with our family doctor overseeing his meds instead of the psychiatrist.  That is the plan.  I think it is a good plan.

Youngest Son is aware of the connection between his past and his present – much more so than his younger sister can even begin to be aware.  He told his therapist about a dream he had where his friends from the orphanage and his friends from school were together and he was facilitating a game between the two groups of guys.  They were making friends and Youngest Son was helping that to happen.  That’s BIG, folks.  That dream shows him integrating his two worlds and making a peaceful, happy connection between the two.  This is just one example of the progress he is showing.

We could not be to this point without having gone through the last four years of learning to parent him very differently than we parented the older boys.  We could not have gotten to this point without attachment therapy, and without incorporating some of the therapies that WORK with adopted kids. 

Will his attachment to us ever be 100% secure?  I’m not counting on that.  But I see a young man who’s going to make it.  It looks different than I thought it would – or than I prayed it would for too long a time – but he’s going to make it.

I just keep thinking of the story of Jonah and the big fish.  We’ve been in the belly of a whale too long.  But now, thankfully, we’ve been spit out.  We’re heading to Ninevah.  This is happening in SO many ways for our family right now.  Youngest Son’s progress is just one of those ways.  I am so thankful.

Okay, here’s what the DBT brochure from our mental health campus says:

What is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy?

In Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), your experience and feelings will be validated while you’re encouraged to develop more adaptive ways of solving problems and managing behaviors, thoughts, and emotions.  If you struggle with self-harm behaviors – such as cutting, having frequent suicidal thoughts, or even attempting suicide – or struggle with trauma symptoms, depression, anxiety, chemical dependency, or an eating disorder, DBT may be an effective treatment.

Balancing Acceptance and Change

The DBT consultation team at XXX strives toward nonjudgmentally and respectfully assisting you in building a life worth living.  We assume you’re doing your best and want to improve.  We strive to balance acceptance and change by teaching the skills of mindfulness, distress tolerance, validation, dialectics, emotion regulation, and health relationships.

Treatment Components

Standard DBT includes:
               * Weekly or bi-weekly individual therapy with a therapist specially trained in DBT
               * Weekly DBT skills training group
               *Telephone coaching as needed
               * A consultation team for support and accountability of the therapists

Research suggests that combining these treatment components increases the success rate for managing symptoms.  XXX prefers that if you enter DBT, you will be committed to all components.”

1 comment:

DBT said...

I just learned today that DBT is being used with kids and I think it's a great idea. And it's wonderful to see adopted children get the kind of specialized help around attachment issues that can build security. Fantastic.