Dr. Marsha Linehan created DBT, or dialectical behavior therapy, in the 1980’s for adults with Borderline Personality disorder and suicidal thinking. DBT is now considered the gold standard treatment for many disorders including anxiety, depression, substance abuse and PTSD.
In 2011, DBT was shown to be effective for the adolescent population. Currently, researchers are working to demonstrate DBT’s effectiveness for a younger population, children ages 6 -12.
Over the years, I have learned DBT from wise teachers, online courses, and reading numerous books. Initially, learning and understanding DBT can feel like quite a challenge; there are numerous skills within the four modules and nuances within the DBT concepts. Today, I want to share my favorite books, the ones I have found to be most helpful on my DBT journey!
DBT THERAPEUTIC ACTIVITY IDEAS FOR WORKING WITH TEENS
I have to include my own book, right? Seriously, each book in this list has it’s own unique assets to the DBT learner. Written by Carol Lozier, LCSW; this book makes DBT easy to understand and teach to adolescents, and new DBT therapists and trainers. It covers 100 DBT skills from all four modules, and general concepts of DBT.
MY FAVORITE PART: This book is so user-friendly! DBT skills are clearly described and shown through fun images and various fonts. I love that the handouts and worksheets are engaging to teens and they are reproducible for DBT trainers or therapists to use in individual or group settings with teens. The book also includes daily or weekly logs for teens to keep track of their DBT homework.
DBT SKILLS TRAINING MANUAL and DBT SKILLS TRAINING HANDOUTS AND WORKSHEETS
Both of these books were written by DBT creator, Dr. Marsha Linehan. They are considered to be the “bibles” of DBT and clearly, the go to resource for any clarification of a DBT skill or concept. At the same time, both of these books can be overwhelming with their fine points and academic writing style, especially for someone new to DBT.
MY FAVORITE PART: When I want to dig into any concept or skill, these are my go to books. They are precise, detailed, and accurate . . . without exception.
DOING DIALECTICAL BEHAVIOR THERAPY
Written by Kelly Koerner, PhD; this book is written particularly for DBT therapists. Doing Dialectical Behavior Therapy is written in a sophisticated style though not as academic in nature, and therefore easier to understand than Linehan’s books.
MY FAVORITE PART: I love how Dr. Koerner presents the nuances of DBT through a discussion of concepts and case examples. She explains the principals and strategies of change and acceptance (dialectics within DBT), and how to find the cadence of validation and a push for change when working in session. A definite “must have” for a therapist who wants to further their depth of understanding of DBT.
DON’T LET YOUR EMOTIONS RUN YOUR LIFE FOR TEENS
Sheri Van Dijk, MSW is the author of this workbook for teens. The workbook reviews all four modules in easy to understand language, poses thoughtful questions to the reader, and further demonstrates the skills with clinical vignettes.
MY FAVORITE PART: This workbook is user friendly for teens. I incorporated some of these exercises in my first DBT group for teen girls, and they really liked them. Teens, new or seasoned in DBT skills, will benefit from the exercises.
DON’T LET YOUR EMOTIONS RUN YOUR LIFE FOR KIDS
Therapists, Solin and Kress, created the activities in this book which use DBT and other types of therapy as well. The workbook is specifically written for children, ages 7-12, and their parents.
MY FAVORITE PART: The workbook includes an in depth section on understanding feelings for kids. This is especially important for kids who have not been exposed to learning about their feelings in the past . . . for whatever reason. The workbook also includes some unique DBT skills for this young population.
DIALECTICAL BEHAVIOR THERAPY SKILLS, 101 MINDFULNESS EXERCISES AND OTHER FUN ACTIVITIES FOR CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS
The authors divide this book into three parts: DBT skills, mindfulness exercises, and DBT games and activities. In the first part, the authors include all four DBT modules plus, walking the middle path.
MY FAVORITE PART: I love having 101 mindfulness exercises right at my fingertips. These are especially helpful as they are geared towards children. The authors also include some fun crossword puzzles, seek-n-finds, and other games for adolescents to further learn and understand DBT.
THE DIALECTICAL BEHAVIOR THERAPY SKILLS WORKBOOK
Authors McKay, Wood, and Brantley collaborated to write a sophisticated, in-depth workbook for older adolescents who are currently in DBT treatment or working with a therapist. The workbook covers all four modules and includes sections on basic and advanced skills in each module.
MY FAVORITE PART: As other books have previously done, this book covers all four modules within DBT. This book takes it further by dividing each module into basic and advanced sections, enabling the reader to start learning skills at their current level.
Carol Lozier is a therapist, author, and blogger specializing in trauma; and adoptive and foster kids, teens, and adults. Ms. Lozier is in private practice in Louisville, KY.