DBT Skills in Schools : Skills Training for Emotional Problem Solving for Adolescents (DBT STEPS-A) book cover
1st Edition

DBT Skills in Schools
Skills Training for Emotional Problem Solving for Adolescents (DBT STEPS-A)

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ISBN 9781462525591
Published July 22, 2016 by Guilford Press
490 Pages


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Book Description

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) skills have been demonstrated to be effective in helping adolescents manage difficult emotional situations, cope with stress, and make better decisions. From leading experts in DBT and school-based interventions, this unique manual offers the first nonclinical application of DBT skills. The book presents an innovative social–emotional learning curriculum designed to be taught at the universal level in grades 6-12. Explicit instructions for teaching the skills--mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness--are provided in 30 lesson plans, complete with numerous reproducible tools: 99 handouts, a diary card, and three student tests. The large-size format facilitates photocopying; purchasers also get access to a Web page where they can download and print the reproducible materials.

This book is in The Guilford Practical Intervention in the Schools Series, edited by Sandra M. Chafouleas.

Table of Contents

I. Overview of DBT STEPS-A
1. What Is DBT Skills Training for Emotional Problem Solving for Adolescents (DBT STEPS-A)?
2. Practical Issues in Schools
3. Teaching DBT STEPS-A to Challenging Students
II. Instructor Information, Lesson Plans, and Tests
Lesson 1. Orientation
Lesson 2. Dialectics
Lesson 3. Mindfulness: Wise Mind
Lesson 4. Mindfulness: “What” Skills
Lesson 5. Mindfulness: “How” Skills
Lesson 6. Distress Tolerance: Introduction to Crisis Survival Skills, and ACCEPTS
Lesson 7. Distress Tolerance: Self-Soothe and IMPROVE the Moment
Lesson 8. Distress Tolerance: TIP Skills for Managing Extreme Emotions
Lesson 9. Distress Tolerance: Pros and Cons
Lesson 10. Distress Tolerance: Introduction to Reality Acceptance Skills, and Radical Acceptance
Lesson 11. Distress Tolerance: Turning the Mind and Willingness
Lesson 12. Distress Tolerance: Mindfulness of Current Thoughts (and Distress Tolerance Test)
Lesson 13. Core Mindfulness: Wise Mind
Lesson 14. Core Mindfulness: “What” and “How” Skills
Lesson 15. Emotion Regulation: Goals of Emotion Regulation and Functions of Emotions
Lesson 16. Emotion Regulation: Describing Emotions
Lesson 17. Emotion Regulation: Check the Facts and Opposite Action
Lesson 18. Emotion Regulation: Problem Solving
Lesson 19. Emotion Regulation: The A of ABC PLEASE
Lesson 20. Emotion Regulation: The BC PLEASE of ABC PLEASE
Lesson 21. Emotion Regulation:The Wave Skill-- Mindfulness of Current Emotion
Lesson 22. Emotion Regulation: Emotion Regulation Test
Lesson 23. Mindfulness: Wise Mind Review
Lesson 24. Mindfulness: “What” and “How” Skills Review
Lesson 25. Interpersonal Effectiveness: Goals and Overview
Lesson 26. Interpersonal Effectiveness: DEAR MAN Skills
Lesson 27. Interpersonal Effectiveness: GIVE Skills
Lesson 28. Interpersonal Effectiveness: FAST Skills
Lesson 29. Interpersonal Effectiveness: Evaluating Options for How Intensely to Ask or Say No
Lesson 30. Interpersonal Effectiveness: Interpersonal Effectiveness Test
III. Student Handouts

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James J. Mazza, PhD, is Professor in the College of Education at the University of Washington, where he teaches and conducts research in the field of adolescent mental health. Dr. Mazza’s research focuses particularly on adolescent internalizing disorders, such as depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, exposure to violence, and, especially, suicidal behavior. His work also examines the complex relationships among adolescent mental health issues, social–emotional abilities, and academic skills through multi-tiered systems of support. Dr. Mazza has written extensively on how to identify youth who are at risk for suicidal behavior, as well as on how to develop social–emotional learning (SEL) curricula to help all students learn emotion regulation skills. He has worked with over 30 school districts and thousands of school personnel in developing and implementing comprehensive school-based suicide identification and prevention strategies for adolescents. Dr. Mazza also provides consultation and training to school personnel internationally on implementing DBT STEPS-A in schools, on developing mental health intervention services within multi-tiered systems of support, and on integrating SEL curricula as a part of a school system’s role in educating the whole child. He is the coowner of a private practice in Seattle, Washington.

Elizabeth T. Dexter-Mazza, PsyD, is the co-owner of a private practice in Seattle, Washington, where she conducts comprehensive dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and skillsbased coaching for adolescents and adults and provides parent coaching and support to family members and friends of individuals with emotion dysregulation. Dr. Dexter-Mazza provides training and consultation to schools, mental health agencies, and individuals in implementing DBT skills and therapy. She is also a trainer for Behavioral Tech, a company that offers DBT trainings to mental health professionals around the world. Dr. Dexter-Mazza completed her postdoctoral fellowship under the direction of Marsha M. Linehan at the Behavioral Research and Therapy Clinics (BRTC) at the University of Washington. She served as Clinical Director and a research therapist at the BRTC for Dr. Linehan’s research studies, which provided both individual DBT and DBT group skills training. Dr. Dexter-Mazza has published several book chapters and peer-reviewed articles on DBT, borderline personality disorder, and graduate school training in managing suicidal clients.

Alec L. Miller, PsyD, is Co-Founder and Clinical Director of Cognitive and Behavioral Consultants, White Plains and New York, New York, and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York. Dr. Miller served for over 20 years as Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Chief of Child and Adolescent Psychology, Director of the Adolescent Depression and Suicide Program, and Associate Director of Psychology Training at Montefiore Medical Center. He is a scientific advisor to the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention and the National Educational Alliance of Borderline Personality Disorder, a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, and past Chair of the International Society for the Improvement and Training of DBT. He has published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and books on topics including DBT, adolescent suicide, childhood maltreatment, and borderline personality disorder. He is the coauthor of DBT Skills in Schools, DBT Skills Manual for Adolescents, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy with Suicidal Adolescents. He has conducted over 400 lectures and workshops around the world, training thousands of mental health professionals in DBT.

Jill H. Rathus, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at Long Island University Post, where she directs the DBT scientist-practitioner training program within the clinical psychology doctoral program. She is also Co-Director and Co-Founder of Cognitive Behavioral Associates, a group private practice in Great Neck, New York, specializing in DBT and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Her clinical and research interests include DBT, CBT, adolescent suicidality, intimate partner violence, anxiety disorders, and assessment. Dr. Rathus has developed and conducted programs in DBT for adolescents and adults as well as males referred for intimate partner violence, and has received foundation and university funding to study, adapt, and develop assessment tools for DBT. She has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and chapters on DBT, adolescent suicide, couple therapy, intimate partner violence, personality disorders, assessment, and anxiety disorders. She is the coauthor of books including DBT Skills in Schools, DBT Skills Manual for Adolescents, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy with Suicidal Adolescents.

Heather E. Murphy, PhD, NCSP, has a private practice in Seattle, Washington, where she works with self-harming and suicidal adolescents. She is adjunct faculty in educational psychology at the University of Washington. Dr. Murphy previously worked as a school psychologist in elementary, middle, and high schools for 7 years. During that time, she developed districtwide procedures for intervening with suicidal youth and standard practices for responding to a suicide. Dr. Murphy’s research, publications, and clinical work focus on adolescent mental health, LGBT youth, and suicide intervention with adolescents.


"Consistent with DBT and dialectics, the authors have found an ingenious way of expanding the reach and implementation of DBT skills to the universal population of adolescents in educational settings. The DBT STEPS-A curriculum offers a fabulous upstream approach for all adolescents to develop DBT skills and reduce the likelihood of emotionally dysregulated behaviors….Your ability to take this book and use it to teach schoolchildren a wealth of effective life and emotion regulation skills has the possibility of helping more than you can imagine."--from the Foreword by Marsha M. Linehan, PhD, ABPP, Professor and Director Emeritus, Behavioral Research and Therapy Clinics, University of Washington; developer of DBT

"A truly wonderful curriculum to support social–emotional learning (SEL). The authors give school personnel needed tools to teach SEL skills both universally and to targeted high-risk students. The manual is clear, concise, and comprehensive, while providing enough flexibility that school-based mental health professionals and teachers can adapt it to their schools' particular needs. This book is an important resource for anyone who is charged with helping students to become more emotionally adept, manage stress, and live more balanced lives."--Michael Hollander, PhD, Director of Training and Consultations, 3East DBT Services, McLean Hospital; Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

"The authors of this groundbreaking book--all DBT experts--have done something no one else has done before: created a curriculum based on DBT skills that can be used with a broad range of middle and high school students. The curriculum is presented in a highly structured, useful, and practical manner. As most mental health services for youth are delivered in schools, this book should be required reading for all school-based mental health professionals, teachers, and school administrators."--David N. Miller, PhD, Division of School Psychology, University at Albany, State University of New York; President, American Association of Suicidology

"DBT STEPS-A offers school administrators and school-based mental health professionals a skills-based emotion regulation curriculum for students in general education and/or alternative school-based settings. The structured lesson plans and student worksheets facilitate implementation for general education teachers and school-based personnel. The curriculum is ideal for use at the levels of both prevention and intervention in the framework of a multi-tiered system of support. The book clearly spells out the theoretical basis and rationale for the approach, and shows how to teach DBT skills in a way that students and parents can understand. Schools are often at a loss for how to help students with varying levels of complex social-emotional and behavioral problems--DBT STEPS-A addresses this need.”--Ameet N. Boleigh, EdS, NCSP, school psychologist, Aiken County Public School District, South Carolina

"I have used DBT STEPS-A the last 2 years with sixth, seventh, and eighth graders. In my 36 years as an educator I have used many programs, and this one is the most comprehensive and powerful. I surveyed one of my eighth-grade classes, and 96% of the students said they would use the skills they learned. Imagine students learning that their thoughts and feelings can lie to them in a crisis situation, and gaining the skills to successfully deal with their issues. My district and others cannot afford to be without DBT STEPS-A."--Richard Jones, MEd, school counselor, Maple Grove School, Battle Ground, Washington
-Each lesson is described thoroughly, including required materials, preparation instructions, lesson overviews, and timelines. The authors skillfully weave the philosophical background of dialectics into the first few lessons using language and issues that adolescents can relate to. The intention of this book is not just to be a resource, but to be a how-to book. The authors succeed in providing simple-to-understand, easy-to-implement lessons throughout DBT STEPS-A….This book would be a valuable addition to any middle or high school social worker's library.--School Social Work Journal, 4/2/2018ƒƒThe lessons and the accompanying handouts are impressive….As a practitioner who has used DBT with adolescents and adults as well as working with adolescents in groups for over 35 years, I highly recommend this manual.--Social Work with Groups, 10/3/2016