Life skills for teens: intensive holiday group program (WA)

Our life skills for teens group program helps teens build new skills for managing life challenges.

Do you have a teen who is having difficulty with their first term back at high school this year? Maybe they are experienced high school students or perhaps they are in their first years and just can’t get in the swing of teen life. You may be noticing them having difficulty regulating their emotions at home or socially and getting overwhelmed easily. Much of this, unfortunately, and often, is a natural state-of-being during the adolescent years due to hormonal and developmental changes. However, several skills can be learned during his time to help navigate these challenges and build your teen’s resilience.

What does the program involve?

This intensive set of group workshops provides teens the opportunity to meet some new people and learn and practice new skills to support them in managing challenges they may be facing with anxiety, behavioural difficulties, and emotional regulation.

The skills taught are adapted from Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT).

What exactly is Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)?

DBT is a highly regarded evidence-based treatment program that was originally created by Prof Marsha Linehan to support patients with severe mental health concerns (primarily BPD).

DBT has since been used for a wide range of other disorders and mental health concerns.

DBT is based on a theory of psychology that emphasizes the role of difficulties in regulating emotions (both over and under-control of emotions) in explaining problematic behaviour.

The types of skills taught in DBT can be grouped into four focus areas;

  • Mindfulness skills – Introducing novel and unique ways to practice being more mindful every day that extends far beyond standard breathing strategies.
  • Interpersonal effectiveness – Teaching ways to approach and manage conflict assertively and supporting making more helpful decisions when it comes to social scenarios.
  • Emotion regulation – Several life skills explored here are vital to support your teen to solve day-to-day problems, build mastery in their life, and checking the facts before acting impulsively.
  • Distress tolerance– These skills help us to self-soothe and improve the moments of our lives that are full of stress, anxiety, and low mood. Some are focused on acceptance whilst others present simple bio-behavioural hacks that help in acute moments of distress.

Who is it for?

This group suits teens aged 13-17 with mild to moderate mental health concerns such as managed ADHD, anxiety, mood disturbances, anger and aggression, coping with stress difficulties, or some behavioural concerns.

It can be a fantastic adjunct to your existing therapy as it is a psychoeducation group rather than a process-oriented group.

If you have an existing therapist, have a chat with them about whether it might be suitable for you.

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What will the sessions look like?

This intensive program will run for 4 x 3.5 hour intensives over the school holidays.

The sessions will be facilitated by Early Start Australia West Leederville’s Principal Psychologist, Tristan, and co-facilitated by another experienced member of the team.

Each session will be broken up into 1.5-hour groups with a half-hour block in the middle for a food/ drink break. Your teen will not leave the building during this time.

The school holiday Intensive has been created to maximise material presented in a short period of time in a cost-effective way for families.

It is structured, fun and engaging and is a wonderful adjunct to any individual therapy.

Included in the sessions:

  • 4 sessions of 3-hour intensives of psychological skill building and coaching for your teen (12 hours total).
  • All printed material and a refresher handbook for all skills taught for your teen to take home.
  • A fun and engaging group led by an experienced psychologist in DBT and cofacilitated by an allied health assistant.
  • A follow up 90-minute evening group session for parents where you can learn what your teens learned (in case they aren’t so talkative) and how you can be their ongoing scaffold to practice these new skills.

How to book

Families will be required to complete a screening questionnaire to assess suitability prior to enrolment to ensure that your child’s needs are going to be adequately supported in the group.

The group is limited to 8-10 participants.

For more information, or to express your teen’s interest in this group, please contact clinic admin at [email protected].

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