DBT-C is structured with 90 minute sessions

  1. Pre-commitment to the DBT-C model with parents (1-11 weeks)

    • Biosocial model and goals

    • Orientation and commitment

    • Change ready environment

  2. Individual skills review with child (20 mins), parent training (30 mins), and family skills training (40 mins) (12-30 weeks)

    • Session 12-20: Education on emotions, skills training

    • Session 20-30: Individual therapy with child focusing on behavioral targets, parent training, skills training with family

DBT for Children (DBT-C)

DBT-C is a 30-week treatment program that focuses on skill development for parents of kids (typically under age 14) who are emotionally sensitive and reactive. DBT-C focuses on changing the environment to meet the needs of the child. For this reason, the family is seen as the “patient,” not the child.

Emotionally vulnerable children can exhibit behavioral and emotional dysregulation including:

  • Hyper-reactivity

  • Severe temper outbursts

  • Irritability

  • Difficulty with change and transitions

  • Easily bored

  • Avoidance of effort toward completing tasks

  • Rapidly shifting attention

  • Hyperactivity

  • Impulsivity

  • Sensory sensitivity (e.g., touch, smell, hearing, taste)

  • Severe interpersonal problems with friends or family

  • Difficulty maintaining hygiene

  • Black and white (extreme) thinking styles

  • Suicidal thoughts, comments, or behaviors

Of course, there are also many benefits of emotional sensitivity including empathy, creativity, pattern recognition, and strong positive emotions.

These "super senser" kids need parents who are "super parents"! DBT-C focuses on helping parents become more effective parents which therefore prevents kids from serious adolescent and adult ineffective behavior (e.g., substance use, truancy, interpersonal conflicts, etc.)

Goals of DBT-C:

  • Create a change ready environment

  • Recognize and understand emotion

  • Better control behavior

  • Learn ways to effectively cope with problems

  • Learn how to problem-solve difficulties

Treatment Modes:

  • Individual therapy

  • Skills training

  • Parent training

  • Phone consultation (required for parents, optional for kids)


If you are interested in learning more about our DBT-C programming, please contact us.