Wabi-Sabi DBT for Teens

The Crazy Beautiful

Wabi-Sabi DBT for Teens and Families is a clinical program within Wise Mind, Wise Life, named for a Japanese aesthetic idea which embraces the imperfect and flawed. Artists practicing wabi-sabi prefer asymmetry to symmetry and rough to smooth, and intentionally add a flaw to a piece of art before declaring it finally complete.

Inspired by Zen concepts such as impermanence and the ever-dynamic nature of life, the wabi-sabi concept is related to mindfulness and accepting this current moment — one of the guiding principals of DBT that makes it so effective.

Wabi-Sabi for Teens and Families is based on the work of Alec Miller and Jill Rathus, two DBT practitioners who worked with founder Marcia Linehan to develop a DBT model specifically for adolescents, young adults and their families. Following 20 years of application in various settings, the peer-reviewed methodology is a systematic and respected approach for dealing with high-risk and complex young patients dealing with impulsiveness, a confused self-image, emotional instability or conflict in the parent-teen relationship.

Severe Behavioral Symptoms Include

Suicidal thoughts or attempts
Self harm
Substance abuse
Disruptive behavior
Bipolar disorder


Radical Acceptance

In collaboration with Mariah Warden, Todd Hawkins and other members of the Wichita DBT Consortium, Scott creates an atmosphere of “radical acceptance,” mindfulness and learning to dance with the dynamic nature of reality. Teenagers and their families learn concrete DBT skills such as emotional regulation, distress tolerance and interpersonal acceptance — in addition to “walking the middle path,” a family-based module developed by Miller and Rathus specifically for adolescents.

In the Wabi-Sabi for Teens program, young patients learn to encompass their own imperfections, the impermanence of life and the crazy beautiful.

“Wholeness does not mean perfection; it means embracing brokenness as an integral part of life.”

— Parker J. Palmer

“Scott Spradlin is adeptly skilled in the use of DBT. He shows a balance of compassion with evidence-based practice.”

— James Todd Hawkins