COMPASS: A Teen Life Skills Group

COMPASS: A Teen Life Skills Group

Learn with us as Summer McMurry, founder and CEO of Carolina Pediatric Therapy and Emma Cook, Licensed Clinical Social Worker-Associate (LCSW-A) from the Carolina Peds Behavioral Health Team discuss principles of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and our new program called COMPASS: A Teen Life Skills Group, a DBT-influenced program appropriate for any teen in need of a bit of direction… all designed with teens in mind! (Listen on Apple iTunes & Google Play).

 

 

Podcast Transcript

Summer McMurry:

Good afternoon and welcome to the Carolina Pediatric Therapy Podcast. My name is Summer McMurry. I’m the founder and CEO of Carolina Pediatric Therapy, and I’m here today with Emma Cook, licensed clinical social worker associate here at Carolina Peds. Good afternoon, Emma.

Emma Cook:

Good afternoon. Thank you for having me.

Summer McMurry:

We want to talk a little bit about our new program. It’s called Compass and we’re really excited about it. It’s a team life skills program and so can you tell us a little bit about how that started and the idea came about?

Emma Cook:

Yeah. A lot of our behavioral health therapists work with a lot of teens on really similar issues, so self-esteem, navigating friendships, all sorts of stuff like that. We thought that it would be a really good idea to bring together a group where we could teach a set of skills to a whole group of teens rather than just going at it individually, so that’s where the idea came from.

Summer McMurry:

Okay. So I was reading a little bit about the program and the strategies and the skills you’re using there, and DBT therapy comes up in there, as far as it’s a DBT-based program. And so, can you tell me, first of all, what does DBT stand for? And then, what strategies from that program are you using?

Emma Cook:

DBT stands for Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and it’s a model of therapy that focuses on four different skill areas. The skill areas are mindfulness, inter-personal effectiveness, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance. Basically, it gives people different practical skills to use in everyday life when they come across different circumstances that are challenging. And so, we’re gonna be drawing materials from that model of therapy, and teaching those, and doing some coaching with those skills with our group.

Summer McMurry:

Okay. So you mentioned the four areas, can we maybe go into defining those areas? Just a little bit, just for families to have a bit of a perspective on what those terms actually mean.

Emma Cook:

Yeah.

Summer McMurry:

We’re talking about mindfulness. Let’s go there first.

Emma Cook:

Yeah. A lot of people have trouble with being present in the moment, and mindfulness addresses just that. Being able to be present, focus on the present moment, instead of worrying about the past or thinking about the future. Being bale to be in the moment with people.

Summer McMurry:

Okay. All right. The second one is inter-personal effectiveness.

Emma Cook:

This is gonna bring in a lot of conflict resolution skills, how to navigate conflict with people, how to advocate for yourself and stand up for yourself.

Summer McMurry:

Okay. The next one is emotional regulation. Let’s talk about that.

Emma Cook:

These are gonna be skills that will help you to identify what your emotion is, and then ways to manage that emotion if it’s difficult. If we’re stressed, or if we’re really, really upset, some different skills to help with those types of emotion.

Summer McMurry:

Okay, and then distress tolerance is the next one.

Emma Cook:

This one is gonna be helpful if you’re in a crisis situation, and you’re experiencing some really extreme emotions, or a really challenging circumstance. These are gonna be some crisis management skills that’ll help you get through the current moment.

Summer McMurry:

Can you tell me if a parent is looking to get into the Compass group, what age group are we looking at for that group?

Emma Cook:

We’re looking for teens ages 13 to 18.

Summer McMurry:

Okay. 13 to 18. And then, as far as areas of concern, how would a parent know that their child might benefit from this? What areas of concern are we looking for?

Emma Cook:

If their teen is experiencing a lot of inter-personal conflict, drama with peers, and they’re having difficulty managing that. Or, if they’re having a lot of really extreme emotions that are challenging to navigate, that would be addressed as well. So, self esteem type issues, conflict between family members, that sort of thing.

Summer McMurry:

Okay. I don’t know a parent of a teen that might not benefit from this group.

Emma Cook:

I know! Same.

Summer McMurry:

It sounds like everyone could benefit from the Compass program.

Emma Cook:

Definitely.

Summer McMurry:

Okay. Well so the program is called Compass, and it’s gonna be run by our behavioral health team. And so, tell me a little bit about the format of that. When a family signs up for this, what are they getting when they sign up for a packaged group progress series?

Emma Cook:

We’re gonna have six sessions, where in the first session and the last session, parents will be able to join for a portion of that. The other four sessions will be just with the teens. They’re gonna be learning these new skills and practicing them in session with the other teens. And then, they’ll be able to take those skills home and practice them outside of the group as well. Parent will also be receiving weekly parent emails that’ll give them information about how to help their child implement some of the skills that they learn, as well as we’re gonna be providing some of the DBT materials, so the Dialectical Behavioral Therapy materials.

Summer McMurry:

Okay.

Emma Cook:

Yeah.

Summer McMurry:

Okay. That sounds good. Now there was one thought that I remember I was talking with Dr. [Funk 00:04:47] about this, and she was saying that there’s … In the DBT model we’re talking about, the idea of I’m doing the best that I can right now, but there’s also areas that I can make changes. Can you talk a little bit about that piece?

Emma Cook:

That is the idea of dialectical, or dialectics, that there are two opposing sides to everything. On one hand, yeah, we could be doing really well with all the skills that we have currently, and there’s always room for improvement. We can always learn new stuff to grow and to do better.

Summer McMurry:

Okay. Great. And then, how many children are gonna be in the group? I meant to ask you this. So it’s not a giant group of kids all at the same time?

Emma Cook:

No.

Summer McMurry:

What’s that like?

Emma Cook:

The limit on the group is gonna be eight teens.

Summer McMurry:

So per series, we’re gonna have eight teens in the group. We may run a couple of track at the same time possibly, but really just eight slots per season of this.

Summer McMurry:

Okay, great! Well the program again is called Compass, and if you would like to find out more about how your teen could get involved, you can call our office at 828-670-8056, or you can visit us on the website at carolinapeds.com.

Summer McMurry:

Thanks for joining us, and thank you Emma for being here!

Emma Cook:

Thank you!

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