DBT Skills

For Every Teen

Building social emotional wellness and resiliency in schools.







Mazza Consulting and Psychological Services, PLLC provides onsite training for the implementation DBT in Schools, including both the DBT STEPS-A universal SEL curriculum and comprehensive school based DBT (SB-DBT). In addition, we provide ongoing onsite or web-based consultation to schools and individuals implementing DBT in Schools. Please contact us for more information and we will help your school design the most effective training program for your site.



DBT Skills in Schools: Skills Training and Emotional Problem Solving for Adolescents

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) skills have been demonstrated to be effective in helping adolescents manage difficult emotional situations, cope with stress, and make better decisions. From leading experts in DBT and school-based interventions, this unique manual offers the first nonclinical application of DBT skills. The book presents an innovative social-emotional learning curriculum designed to be taught at the universal level in grades 6-12. Explicit instructions for teaching the skills—mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness—are provided in 30 lesson plans, complete with numerous reproducibles: 99 handouts, a diary card, and three student tests. The large-size format and lay-flat binding facilitate photocopying; purchasers also get access to a Web page where they can download and print the reproducible materials.

[T]he authors have found an ingenious way of expanding the reach and implementation of DBT skills to the universal population of adolescents in educational settings...
— Marsha M. Linehan, PhD, ABPP

Current Trainings Available

BOCES logo.png

Dates: June 5-7, 2019.

Trainers: Dr. Lizz Dexter-Mazza and Dr. James Mazza


Location: Yorktown Heights, NY

DBT in Schools: Skills Training for Emotional Problem Solving for Adolescents (STEPS-A) is a universal social emotional learning (SEL) curriculum designed for middle and high school students in educational settings. The DBT STEPS-A curriculum is designed to help adolescents develop coping strategies and decision-making abilities, especially under emotional distress. The DBT STEPS-A curriculum is based on the skills components of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) that have been shown to be effective with both adults and adolescents experiencing mild to severe levels of emotional and behavioral difficulties. The primary population for DBT STEPS-A is Tier I of a multi-tier or RTI system, however, it has been effective at all levels of MTSS implementation. 

This one and a half day intermediate level training is designed for individuals who completed the initial 3-day DBT STEPS-A training and have been implementing it in their schools. This training will focus on implementation strategies, encountered barriers, challenging students, and practice of teaching lessons that participants identify pre-training. Along with a brief overview of how the lessons interact with each other, this training will also address how to generalize the skills taught in DBT STEPS-A classrooms to the school-wide environment and culture.

This workshop is designed for school administrators and stakeholders at various levels to provide a structured format in discussing implementation strategies for providing a structured social emotional learning (SEL) class and the barriers to implementing in current school-based settings. This half-day will provide a brief overview of what DBT: STEPS-A is and its intended audience. Discussion of the current school structure, environment, and staff for potential implementation will take place. Finally, identified barriers, strategies and use of upstream approaches will be discussed with a perspective of showing initial impact among students, teachers, staff, and the school environment. Implementing a social emotional curriculum requires the support and understanding of administrators in order to assist staff in teaching an SEL class and ultimately, shifting the culture of schools to one that educates the whole child, both academically and emotionally

About Us

Dr. James J. Mazza

Dr. James J. Mazza is the co-author of the DBT STEPS-A social emotional learning curriculum for middle and high school students. He received his masters and Ph.D. in school psychology from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.  He is a professor at the University of Washington – Seattle where he has been for the past 20 years teaching and conducting research in the field of adolescent mental health. 

Dr. Elizabeth Dexter-Mazza


Dr. Elizabeth Dexter-Mazza  is a certified DBT therapist and co-author of the DBT STEPS-A social emotional learning curriculum for middle and high school students. She received her doctoral degree from the School of Professional Psychology at Pacific University in 2004, and completed her predoctoral internship at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center’s Adolescent Depression and Suicide Program. Dr. Dexter-Mazza completed her postdoctoral fellowship under the direction of Dr. Marsha Linehan at the Behavioral Research and Therapy Clinics (BRTC) at the University of Washington.

What The Heck Is DBT?


Posted by UC San Francisco (UCSF)