Middle School DBT® Program

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The Middle School DBT® Program consists of:

  1. The individual therapy of the middle school DBT® program focuses on helping the client generalize skills taught in skills training sessions to their daily life. Individual therapy occurs weekly with a therapist who is highly trained and adept at understanding your family and child's dynamics. Your child will be learning a host of skills in weekly skills training sessions; however, at times may need assistance in applying them in their own life. The individual therapist will also use the diary card to help the middle schooler become more aware of their moods and urges. The parent does not participate actively in the individual session typically; rapport and trust between client and therapist are paramount.  This therapist could be different from the skills trainer and could even be from a different agency from Compass Point if you already have one that you prefer.  We encourage parents to get a therapist if they need to work on their own emotional needs and can help facilitate that if needed. 

  2. The middle school DBT® skills protocol is intended for children/younger adolescents that are not yet in high school.  This has nothing to do with intelligence; rather, the research shows that the middle school brain does not learn well through metaphors, analogies or abstract thinking (DBT® is the therapy of metaphors!).  The researched protocol shows that teaching skills via the same syllabus as high schoolers - but in a private family session works better. This session will be in addition to the weekly therapy and provides an environment for members to learn and refine skills for daily coping in a more concrete way. Our intensively trained DBT® clinicians closely adhere to, and are compliant with, full DBT® protocol. Skill sessions run for approximately one year, meeting weekly for sessions with one or both parents in attendance to learn the skills too.  The goal is that the parent becomes the skills expert and will coach the middle schooler at home. Children and parents practice mindfulness, review homework and learn new skills each week together. Note: It is recommended that the same parent attend each week.

  3. In addition to weekly therapy, skills generalization is also available during phone coaching. Phone coaching in this age bracket is for the parents, not the child.  This is a component to the comprehensive DBT® program in which parents are permitted to call your therapist 24/7. Phone coaching consists of a 5-8 minute phone calls or brief text exchanges when the child is in a crisis; prior to engaging in any maladaptive behavior.  This will help the family in order to get figuring out which skills to use.