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Parenting a Teen Who Has Intense Emotions


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About the Author

Pat Harvey ACSW, LCSW-C, has over thirty years of experience working with families, and now coaches parents of youth and adults with emotion dysregulation using a dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) framework. She facilitates trainings and workshops for mental health professionals on DBT concepts, skills, and family interventions throughout the United States and at national conferences. She is cofounder of the Metro DBT Consortium, and coauthor of Parenting a Child Who Has Intense Emotions and Dialectical Behavior Therapy for At-Risk Adolescents.

Britt H. Rathbone. ACSW, LCSW-C, provides mental health services to adolescents and their families in the Washington, DC, area. He has thirty years of experience working directly with adolescents and families, is a "top therapist" for adolescents, teaches graduate students, trains therapists, and leads a highly regarded and successful clinical practice. He lectures often on the value of using dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) with young people. He is coauthor of Dialectical Behavior Therapy for At-Risk Adolescents and What Works with Teens.


"This book is a must-read for any parent of a teen or young adult who has intense emotions. Parents who feel emotionally battered because they've been told everything is their fault will feel tremendously relieved when they find out this is a myth that has been replaced with new scientific evidence. As readers regain their self-worth and a sense of their own importance, they'll believe it's okay to consider their own needs, too, because they must replenish themselves to keep on giving. This book belongs prominently on every parent's bookshelf."
--Randi Kreger, author of The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder, and coauthor of Stop Walking on Eggshells and two other books

"Parenting a Teen Who Has Intense Emotions is a wonderful resource for parents who want to make positive changes in their relationship with their kids. It offers sound advice and clear steps to put into action right away. The simple act of validating my son's emotional state makes a big difference at those times when he is upset."
--Kathryn Klvana, parent of a sixteen-year-old
"Harvey and Rathbone have struck a marvelous balance of compassionate understanding, clear and useful explanation, keen advice, and practical exercises in this valuable resource. Parents will find it a thoughtful companion to the challenging and important journey of raising their teens and young adults with emotional intensity."
--Elizabeth Ahmann, ScD, RN, ACC, ADHD and executive functioning coach, and section editor of "Family Matters," Pediatric Nursing

"Harvey and Rathbone write with a clear voice that is exceptionally instructive while never losing its caring and compassionate tone. Essential dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) skills and guiding philosophies are presented with depth and readability that emphasize mindful and effective parenting that extends into self-care and addressing the needs of siblings and extended family. Seamlessly integrating validation and practical skills and guidance, the authors light the pathways to parenting more emotionally and behaviorally balanced adolescents. This book is a superb addition to DBT and a must-read for parents with teens (and younger children) who struggle with emotions and behaviors, as well as for the therapists--DBT or otherwise--who help these families."
--Lane Pederson, PsyD, LP, DBTC, international DBT trainer and author of Dialectical Behavior Therapy
"Many teens and young adults struggle to find their way through lives filled with intense emotions. They often engage in frustrating or even scary behaviors as a way to cope. Parents are looking for a way to understand these emotions and behaviors, validation about what they are going through, and concrete parenting strategies they can try with their teens. This book will be a great source of comfort and hope to many of those parents, who are doing their very best to maintain a balanced and safe life for themselves and their families in the face of ongoing crisis."
--Elizabeth Fessenden, MA, LMHC, director of dialectical behavior therapy services at The Bridge of Central Massachusetts, Inc.

"This book is for every parent who yearns for a better relationship with their teen and more effective strategies to help their struggling child. We interpreted our fourteen-year-old daughter's severe emotionality as misbehavior and we locked horns repeatedly. The first time I used the dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) skill of validation and validated her distress, my daughter visibly calmed. We were able to communicate and problem solve in an entirely new way. The DBT skills have helped me be supportive, yet able to maintain effective boundaries and limits. The book offers explicit strategies for how to respond in frightening situations where you and your child are out of control. As a former teacher, I love the way the skills are laid out--simple, practical, and affirming, with familiar case studies and thoughtful pros and cons that help me think through my response. We parents are seeking to establish priorities and appropriate consequences in a world where our parental roles are not as clear as they once were. This book addresses complex conflicts with practical guidelines that will help you get past your anger to help your child and your family."
--Susan O, MA, parent of a twenty-two-year-old
"This book is immediately reassuring to parents of challenging teens and troubled young adults. It belongs in every pediatric office in the United States. The authors help parents have hope, get beyond their anger and fear, and use effective skills to deal with their child's intense emotions. Practicing the skills will help parents transform their relationships and access their love for their children while assisting them in making wise decisions in response to difficult situations. We wish we'd had this reference by our side from the beginning, and it's very helpful to us now with our young adults."
--Eat, Study, Practice DBT Group, Maryland
"This book will help you slow down and be in the moment. It will help you find some peace where you once felt constant turmoil."
--Lynn, parent of a young adult who has strong emotions
"When your teen experiences emotions that lead to unhealthy and unsafe behaviors, it is a natural parent response to feel worried, fearful, and even angry. Often parents take their teen for help with a professional and feel unequipped to manage the emotional intensity at home. In Parenting a Teen Who Has Intense Emotions, Pat Harvey and Britt Rathbone offer a road map for responding effectively even in the midst of the most difficult-to-manage situations. They help parents understand the underpinnings of adolescent emotionality, describe thoughtful skills for parents to intervene and respond effectively while managing their own emotions, and offer approaches for coping with specific sets of problem behaviors. At a time when the focus for parents can feel all about their teen, Harvey and Rathbone teach parents ways to also take care of themselves and other family members. This book is a valuable and critical companion for parents in navigating the emotionally intense lives of their teenagers."
--Julie Baron, LCSW-C, clinical social worker and coauthor of What Works with Teens

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