The DBT Groups for Students (DBT-GS) is a treatment protocol for students ages 12-18 who are experiencing intense emotions and difficulty managing their emotions. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a comprehensive evidence-based intervention that has been proven to improve emotional, behavioral, and academic outcomes. DBT-GS is a treatment modified from DBT Skills Training for Emotional Problem Solving for Adolescents (DBT STEPS-A) to effectively treat students in historically minoritized and marginalized communities who are at risk of further mental health problems due to anxiety, depression, and risky behaviors.
Students typically participate in eleven group sessions that focus on evidence-based coping skills to manage intense emotions, thoughts, and urges. DBT-GS also includes ways to engage caregivers and mental health providers in supporting the students who are in treatment.
DBT-GS provides schools with the opportunity to help students with heightened emotional sensitivity and reactivity.
The Distress Tolerance module teaches students skills to help tolerate difficult situations and emotional pain when problems cannot be solved right away. The focus is on “putting up with” rather than “getting rid of” an unwanted situation.
The Emotion Regulation module supports students in better understanding their emotions and teaches skills to use to influence which emotions they have and how they express them.
Who Our Training Program Is For
The DBT-GS training program is designed to train school-based mental health professionals with mental health intervention experience to deliver and implement DBT-GS with identified students who would benefit from the treatment.
Training Program Components
Collaboration and Implementation Planning
- Our staff meets with key school district staff and administrators to lay the groundwork for successful implementation and sustainability of the DBT-GS treatment in schools.
- Information gathered from needs and readiness assessments guides implementation planning with administration and key staff.
Training and Resources
- School-based mental health professionals delivering DBT-GS to students will engage in a two-day live training covering the foundations of dialectical behavioral treatment and a step-by-step guide to core treatment components for DBT-GS.
- For all educators, a 1.5-hour training on mindfulness and mental health-related topics is offered to provide general skills applicable to all students.
- All trainees are provided access to our virtual training platform where they can find all the resources needed for successful implementation of the DBT-GS protocol.
- School-based mental health professionals will participate in up to 6 hours of virtual group consultation with an expert clinician, who will provide ongoing support on treatment implementation.
- To ensure the highest quality of training and delivery of the DBT-GS treatment for students, our staff collects data including information on trainees’ skill knowledge, trainees’ feedback about the training, and student data before and after delivery of treatment to assess changes in emotion regulation and mood symptoms.