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Relationship Skills 101 for Teens:
Using DBT to Deal with Intense Emotions
Presented by: Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes
Executive Director, AllCEUs

Continuing Education credits for this podcast can be earned at

~    Looking at yourself
~    Examining relationships
~    How up and down emotions fuel the relationship rollercoaster
~    Stop letting your emotions control you
~    Reduce your judgements to improve your attitude
~    Stop fighting reality and deal with it
~    Don’t let your urges control you
~    Improving your relationship with yourself
Looking at Yourself
~    What are the problems in your relationships
~    What are some of the behaviors you are engaging in that are causing these problems?
~¬†¬† ¬†Become Mindful‚ÄĒLive in the present
~    The Past
~    Remember the good
~    Learn from and let go of the bad
~    The Future
~    Identify dreams
~    Avoid creating catastrophes that haven’t happened yet
Mindfulness Exercises
~    Pay attention throughout the day if you are focusing on the task at hand or …
~    Dwelling on the past
~    Fretting about the possibilities
~    Practice acceptance
~    When emotions are triggered, identify them and let them go instead of feeding them
~    Try not to judge
~    What does it mean to judge yourself? Thoughts? Others?
Examining Relationships
~    Healthy Relationships
~    Communication
~    Acceptance
~    Healthy boundaries and limit setting
~    Compassion
~    What do you want from your relationships?
~    Examine your relationships
~    What are they providing for you
~    What is lacking
~¬†¬† ¬†Write a ‚ÄúMy Best Friend‚ÄĚ essay
Benefits of Healthy Relationships
~    Provide validation and acceptance
~    A sense of belonging
~    Self confidence
~    Social support
Relationship Rollercoaster
~    Your interpretations of events are based on
~    Your current state
~    Your prior experiences
~    The event itself
~    When you are tired, sick, depressed etc. it is easier to focus on the negative or get irritable
~    Emotional rollercoasters are caused by immediately reacting to every stimulus without awareness or acceptance

Teens Lives Can Feel Overwhelming
~    Teens have fewer experiences and skills against which to assess current experiences
~    Developmentally teens are trying to figure out where they fit in the world, so they often feel vulnerable
~    Teens have often been provided with acceptance and encouragement based on conditions of worth

Exiting the Rollercoaster
~    Keep a journal for a week of what upsets you
~    At the end of the week, review the journal
~    What, in retrospect, doesn’t seem so bad
~    How could you have used that same energy to address the situation?
~    What was going on that made you more vulnerable to getting upset?
Stop Letting Your Emotions Control You
~    Emotions are a combination of feelings, thoughts and urges.
~    They are a natural response based on what your brain thinks is happening.
~    Your brain is not always right.
~    Feel the feeling.  Label it and let it go.
~    OMG I am totally going to fail this test…
~    Mark asked Samantha to prom instead of me…
~    She is such a $#!@%

Reduce Your Judgements to Improve Your Attitude
~    Judgements often…
~    Compare us to others instead of focusing on ourselves
~    Tear down others to make us feel better about ourselves
~    Tear down ourselves to protect us from disappointment
~    Constructive uses of that energy
~    Self-improvement and compassion
~    Celebrating other’s strengths
~    Celebrate our own strengths
Stop Fighting Reality and Deal with It

~¬†¬† ¬†Sometimes things suck‚ÄĒaccept it
~    Identify the things you can change and change them
~    Identify the things you cannot change and learn how to change your reaction to them
~    What can you learn from it
~    What does this mean about/for you

Don’t Let Your Urges Control You
~    Urges are part of feelings
~    The strongest urges are those to fight or flee
~    Physically
~    Emotionally
~    Urge Surf
~    Distract don’t react
~    Focus on something else 4/3/2/1
~    Watch something really funny
~    Listen to really loud music
~    Hold on to a piece of ice
Improving Your Relationship with Yourself

~    Become aware of your vulnerabilities
~    Develop self-compassion
~    Start identifying what you need and why
~    Be your own best friend

~    Teenage years can be very tumultuous
~    Teens often feel vulnerable as they try and find their place in the world
~    Teens do not have the same experiences that adults do, so their frame of reference is limited.
~    These vulnerabilities can lead to extreme reactions
~    Developing skills to deal with extreme reactions improves relationships by
~    Reducing angry/aggressive reactions
~    Teaching the teen he/she has the ability to handle distress
~    Empowers the teen to use the rollercoaster energy for constructive outcomes.
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