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DBT STEPS-A Curriculum DBT Skills Training Emotional Problem Solving for Adolescents


Event Name:

DBT STEPS-A Curriculum DBT Skills Training Emotional Problem Solving for Adolescents

Event Location


Starting on:

Wednesday 13 February, 2019

Ending on:

Friday 15 February, 2019

Course Description

This course is for teams of professionals who want to deliver a DBT Skills intervention as part of the School  Curriculum.  Teams attending should comprise of teachers, educational psychologists or school counsellors and ideally CAMHS professionals with experience of DBT. The DBT STEPS-A curriculum is designed to help adolescents develop coping strategies and decision–making abilities especially under emotional distresdbt-steps-a-report-on-the-pilot-implementation-in-irelands.

DBT Skills Training for Emotional Problem Solving for Adolescents is a social emotional learning curriculum  designed for middle and high school adolescents in educational settings. The curriculum is based on the skills  components of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy that have been shown to be effective with high risk adults and  adolescents. There are four primary modules of skills that are taught in DBT STEPS-A: core mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. The training is designed to establish four basic  elements that are necessary in implementing the curriculum  Effectively: Background and Development of DBT STEPS-A , Structure and implementation. Issues, Acquisition of Skills and Practice of Skills


Dr. Lizz Dexter-Mazza is a licensed psychologist in the state of Washington and a certified DBT therapist. She has expertise in treating adolescents, adults and families facing a variety of mental health difficulties including (but not limited to) depression, anxiety, suicide, and  non-suicidal self-injurious behaviours. Dr. Dexter-Mazza is also a co-developer and author of the DBT Skills in Schools  educational curriculum called DBT STEPS-A.

Dr. James J. Mazza is the co-author of the DBT STEPS-A social emotional learning curriculum for middle and high school students..  Dr. Mazza’s research interests focus particularly on adolescent internalizing disorders such as depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, exposure to violence and  especially suicidal behavior).

Workshop Objectives for Participants

Curriculum Overview

The DBT STEPS-A curriculum is divided into four main modules:  mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. The curriculum also comes with three tests that assess knowledge gain and abilities to apply specific skills to different situations.  There is a diary card that can be completed by the students each week and reviewed by the teacher. The diary card provides the teachers with an overview of which skills the student is trying to use outside of the classroom and whether or not the skills have been used successfully. The completion of the weekly diary cards can also be used for grading purposes if required. (Mazza et al., 2016)

Each lesson starts with a mindfulness exercise followed by homework review and a check-in. The homework review portion of each lesson is done in pairs or groups, so that adolescents are coaching and supporting each other. The main focus of each lesson is teaching the students the new skills for the module they are undertaking and in what context to use these new skills. Each new skill is accompanied by examples that are age appropriate and highlight the skill that is being taught. Finally, each lesson ends with the assignment of work that is related to the new skill that was just taught. The skills taught in the programme help young people to understand and manage their emotions and provide alterative, adaptive coping responses to challenges to their mental health as outlined earlier in the report.  It is proposed that these skills can be beneficial to adolescents who struggle emotionally and behaviorally with the following:  relationships with peers, family  academic pressure  bullying (victimisation and perpetration)  alcohol and drug use  self-harming behavior  suicidal ideation or behaviour and  anti-social behavior (Mazza et al., 2016).


Cost of training

Earlybird rate: £525
Individual rate after early bird: £600
Group rate 4 or more: £500

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