Research- Supported Strategies Using DBT Skills to Help Parents and Families
Improve Parenting Skills by Decreasing Reactivity and Increasing Validation and Closeness
• Are the interactions between you and your child CHAOTIC?
• Do you feel confused and conflicted about yourself as a parent?
• Do you sometimes feel like you AND your child is emotionally volatile and unstable?
• Do you sometimes feel like your parenting decisions are impulsive, unclear, and ineffective?
Alan Fruzetti, Ph.D., has identified a cycle of transactions that occur between parents and their dysregulated children that can increase stress, communication problems, and interfere with closeness. In particular, he focuses on the cycle of increased arousal and inaccurate expression that leads to invalidating behaviors of parents and children, behaviors that function to keep reactivity in families high and reduce a parent’s problem-solving ability.
Parents need to know that the problems in living and communication problems that occur because of a highly reactive adult child often extend to all family members. We often see whole families become reactive to one another in anticipation of problems.
At San Jose DBT, we help Parents begin to change the communication cycle that can be frustrating with their adult child. We teach parents DBT Skills in individualized sessions, and we also teach parents a method of examining problematic transactions collaboratively with each other and with their child. We help parents:
• Learn Relational Mindfulness Skills to sort out emotions, opinions, needs, and wants
• Learn to interrupt negative reactions, anger, and toxic responses
• Learn to be mindful of their roles as parents and their goals
• Learn to be mindful of appropriate & effective timing of discussions
• Learn to reduce vulnerability to negative emotions and negative transactions
• Increase mindful awareness of the pleasant things their family does for them or that they do together
We teach “Dialectical Parenting” skills based on DBT Skills. Dialectical Parenting is comprised of these basic assumptions:
• Parents and their children may have different ways of seeing situations- and both views can have some validity
• There is no “right way” to parent, and each parting problem may have many possible solutions
• Parents need to be both nurturing and firm
• Parents need to be consistent and flexible
With the help of DBT Skills for Parents and experience teaching hundreds of people skills to manage negative emotions and end long-standing patterns in relationships, Melinda Carlisle Brackett, M.A., a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and an intensively trained DBT Therapist, will put parents to work on themselves in these sessions.
DBT Parenting will help parents control their emotions first, stop making things worse, and only then work on building a better relationship with their child.
If you are interested in learning more, please call Melinda at (408) 351-8785 or contact us for a free 15-minute telephone consultation.