Dialectical behavior therapy for pre-adolescent children (IN: The Oxford Handbook of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, edited by Michaela Swales)
Dialectical Behavior Therapy for pre-adolescent children (DBT-C) targets severe emotional and behavioural dysregulation in the paediatric population by teaching adaptive coping skills and helping parents create a validating and a change-ready environment. It retains the theoretical model, principles, and therapeutic strategies of standard DBT, and incorporates almost all of the adult DBT skills and didactics into the curriculum. However, the presentation and packaging of the information are considerably different to accommodate for the developmental and cognitive levels of pre-adolescent children. Additionally, the treatment target hierarchy has been greatly expanded to incorporate emphasis on the parental role in attaining child’s treatment goals. This chapter discusses the theoretical model, presents the treatment target hierarchy, provides an overview of the adaptations made to skills training and individual therapy, discusses the addition of the parent training component, and finally, briefly presents an empirical evidence for the model.