A FEW WORDS ON TEEN SAFETY AND BOUNDARIES…
in Lisa Wessan's DBT Skills Groups
Most of my teens’ parents are concerned about what their younger teens might hear from the older teens – an understandable concern.
It is good to know that I have created a very safe learning environment here. This is not group therapy – there is never a time when one person can talk for half and hour about their trauma or emotional meltdown in great detail.
Participants DO share about their lives, however, in relation to their homework/worksheet concerning how they practiced a skill. I have rules and boundaries in place to make this a peaceful and safe learning environment and to avoid triggering each other.
All of my DBT students learn to share the broad brush of their challenges, e.g. “I had a fight with my brother,” or “I struggled with food [alcohol, my substance/impulse issue] this week.”
They do not get into the details or drill down into complex interactions. There is no sharing of drunk-a-logs, binge-a-logs or gory details of self harm events. They share the “Headline” of their issue and then tell us how they worked the skill. We hear what worked, and what did not work.
This way the group stays solution focused and maintains an atmosphere for positive learning and sharing. This is especially essential for the teen group to be successful, and to protect the minors from hearing inappropriate and possibly harmful information in group.
The adult group also appreciates the safety boundaries that are in place. I have received wonderful feedback on this feature of my work. (Please click HERE to see positive reviews from previous DBT students.)
That is why it is a requirement of every student to have an individual therapist to talk with each week, to be able to drill down and deconstruct the grief, rage, pain and frustrations that is part of their tender life experience now.
In sum, for these DBT teen groups, my method for capturing the essence of their challenges without reviewing all the possibly triggering or re-traumatizing details is how this works well.
As always, I am here for you and our community via email, phone and video chat.
Please know that the best times to reach me are usually in the morning before 1 PM. But if you do get my voicemail, please leave three good times to reach you in the next day or two, and I’m sure one of them will work.
(Outside of regular office hours, I can return your call from 7 AM – 9 PM if it is time sensitive or urgent.)
Onward and Upward,
Lisa Wessan, LICSW