Dialectical behavior therapy for children

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Dialectical behavior therapy for children

DBT is an acronym for dialectical behavior therapy. This was invented by a psychologist named Marsha Lenehan from the University of Washington, who made the very profound observation that people who are dealing, particularly teenagers and often females, who are dealing with recurrent feelings of desperation resort to things like cutting themselves, harming themselves or using substances to profoundly change the way they feel. She came to the recognition that through practice, coaching and the acceptance that this is what you are dealing with as well as the desire to change that you could build coping skills, alternatives, to these kids who are experiencing distress. So when you get distressed, the money in DBT is how do you manage your distress. So there are these distressed tolerance techniques. And in DBT, teenagers who are self-harming are in groups with others. They are all working on this together. They are all doing homework. They are all working on their coping strategies. And they are learning from each other. DBT is one of the few therapies that has been shown to reduce the outcome of suicide. And so for people who have borderline personality disorder or for people who live with mutilation as a problem, it represents an imporant treatment option to pursue.

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Kenneth Duckworth, MD

Psychiatrist, Harvard Professor & Medical Director for NAMI

Ken Duckworth, MD, serves as the medical director for NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. He is triple board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in Adult, Child and Adolescent, and Forensic Psychiatry and has extensive experience in the public health arena.

Dr. Duckworth is currently an Assistant Clinical Professor at Harvard University Medical School, and has served as a board member of the American Association of Community Psychiatrists. Dr. Duckworth has held clinical and leadership positions in community mental health, school psychiatry and now also works as Associate Medical Director for Behavioral Health at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts.

Prior to joining NAMI in 2003, Dr. Duckworth served as Acting Commissioner of Mental Health and the Medical Director for Department of Mental Health of Massachusetts, as a psychiatrist on a Program of Assertive Community Treatment (PACT) team, and Medical Director of the Massachusetts Mental Health Center.

Dr. Duckworth attended the University of Michigan where he graduated with honors and Temple University School of Medicine where he was named to the medical honor society, AOA. While at Temple, he won awards for his work in psychiatry and neurology. He also has a family member living with mental illness.

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