Event Details

DBT skills for neurodiverse children and teens

Presented by Dr Jemma Hill and Marie Wassberg

About the event

This online, participative event will be held on Zoom, and has been organised by the Children, Adolescents & Families Special Interest Group (CAFSIG). For more details on CAFSIG please see here.

A certificate of attendance will be issued for 6 x hours CPD. The event will not be recorded.

Registration closes - Midday on Thursday 16 November. Places are limited though so book early to avoid disappointment!


DBT could be considered as third wave CBT tailored to the needs of those who experience intense emotions and engage in life threatening behaviours. Due to its efficacy with high-need, “difficult-to-treat” clients, DBT has gained widespread attention.

DBT for children 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. Further, DBT for children adds an extensive parent training component to the model, maintaining that parental modelling of adaptive behaviours, reinforcement of a child’s skills use, ignoring of maladaptive responses, validation, and acceptance are key to achieving lasting changes in a child’s emotional and behavioural regulation.

The term “neurodivergent” describes differences between individuals, in how the brain functions, learns and processes information which captures a range of presentations including ADHD, autism, dyslexia and dyspraxia amongst others. Recent prevalence estimates suggest that 15 per cent of the population are neurodiverse, which equates to 1 in 7 of us. Neurodevelopmental difference is associated with both strengths and difficulties, however for some people the variation between these is more pronounced. Some common difficulties associated with being neurodiverse include maintaining attention and concentration, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Neurodiversity (in particular autism) is also commonly associated with deficits in social interaction and communication and flexibility in behaviour, including the ability to identify and regulate emotions.  Furthermore, research suggests that neurodiversity is associated with increased mental health difficulties. In addition to stress, anxiety and low mood being substantially more common, premature deaths by suicide are seven times more likely to occur in those with ASD, with suicidal ideation increasing with depression (85% of individuals).

Given the disproportionate prevalence of mental health difficulties amongst the neurodivergent population, it is prudent that we consider how to meet the needs and adapt approaches developed for the neuro typical population, (those whose brains process information in the way society expects) including DBT. Read more

Aims and objectives 

  1. To provide practitioners with an overview on DBT and the evidence base for its use in with children and teens, including the theoretical framework and principles

  2. To highlight the needs of neurodiverse children and teens and how DBT may be a helpful approach in improving communication, social skills, as well as how to identify, understand and regulate emotions in a more helpful way

  3. To introduce the core tenets of DBT skills training (Mindfulness, Walking the Middle Path, Emotion Regulation, Distress Tolerance and Interpersonal Effectiveness) and how these can be 'taught' and reinforced as skills with neurodiverse children and teens

  4. To consider the role of the environment in shaping the skills taught including the role of parents and other wider systems, i.e. Schools

About the presenter(s)

Dr Jemma Hill is a Clinical Psychologist specialising in children and adolescent services. She currently leads a looked after children’s team and has previously been lead psychologist on an ASD pathway. She has worked in tier 4 settings, setting up and running DBT skills groups, completing her DBT training in 2018. Jemma is a part time lecturer at The University of Central Lancashire teaching DBT and other topics on the MSc in Clinical Psychology, and provides training and workshops for external providers across the UK.

Marie Wassberg has been a DBT Therapist since 2010. She trained with Dr. Elizabeth Malmquist and Dr. Anita Linnér in Sweden, as well as with Professor Alan Fruzzetti and Professor Jill Rathus (USA), both leading clinicians in the field of DBT for adolescents. Marie is also a BABCP accredited CBT therapist. She qualified in 2003 and studied at Goldsmiths University in London with Professors Windy Dryden and Michael Neenan. She is trained in Trauma Focused-CBT (TF-CBT), including Supervisor training, in 2013 with Dr. Laura Murray (USA); Prolonged Exposure (PE) 2012 with Professor Edna Foa (USA); and DBT for Schools (STEPS-A), 2018 with Dr. Elizabeth Dexter-Mazza and Dr. James Mazza (USA). Marie qualified as a social worker in 1998 and has experience of working in the profession in both Sweden and England.


By registering on this BABCP event you accept the following terms and conditions:

All cancellation requests must be made in writing by emailing  workshops@babcp.com

Online workshops and webinars
An event booking cancelled up to 5 days prior to the scheduled event will receive a full refund.

No refunds will be granted if a cancellation is made fewer than 5 days prior to the scheduled event, or for failure to attend.

BABCP cancels events only when necessary, but reserves the right to do so, as well as to reschedule events and substitute presenters.  If an event is cancelled you will be given a full refund of registration fees paid.

Online Event
21 Nov 2023
SIG: Children, Adolescents & Families
70.00 GBP (ex. VAT) - BABCP Member
85.00 GBP (ex. VAT) - Non Member
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