What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Children (DBT-C)?
Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Children (DBT-C) is an evidence-based intervention for children who have strong emotions and corresponding behavioral problems. DBT-C consists of parent sessions, family skills training, individual therapy, and phone coaching between sessions. DBT-C contains the theoretical model, principles, and therapeutic strategies of DBT; however, it has been modified to meet the developmental level of children and contains a strong parent component. Treatment begins with parents attending sessions once a week for parent training and then the child is brought in later for individual and family therapy twice a week. In sessions, parents learn parenting skills to decrease problem behaviors and increase adaptive behaviors, while children learn problems solving and coping skills to gain control over their big emotions.

Who is the Treatment For?  
DBT-C is an appropriate intervention for children between the ages of 6 and 12 years of age. Children who may benefit from DBT-C:
  • Have extreme feelings and experience negative emotions at high levels.
  • Become upset very quickly (Parents describe their child from going from 0 to 100 in a matter of seconds; situations that wouldn’t upset others tend to upset their child).
  • Take a long time to calm down.
  • Have behavioral problems such as anger outbursts or tantrums (can be verbal and/or physical).
  • May engage is self-harm behavior and/or have suicidal thoughts.