Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)

This program provides therapeutic services to youth aged 14-17 who have experienced suicidal thoughts, actions, and/or self-harming behaviour in addition to quality of life-interfering behaviours and interpersonal issues. Support includes weekly individual therapy sessions and group skills training, 24/7 phone coaching for youth and caregivers, and family counselling as needed. Treatment ranges from 6-12 months. DBT also offers a 16 week youth only skills group.

Goals of the Program:

  • To decrease life-threatening behaviours (e.g. self-injurious behaviour, suicidal thoughts, threats and/or attempts)
  • To increase personal coping skills
  • To decrease quality-of-life interfering behaviours (e.g. impulsivity, substance use, truancy)
  • To provide support and education to the caregivers of the adolescents in the DBT Program

Inclusionary Criteria:

  • Youth who reside in Peel
  • Youth aged 14 – 17 yrs
  • Youth who experience several of the following:
    • Life-threatening behaviours
    • Quality-of-life interfering behaviours
    • Recurrent suicidal thoughts or attempts
    • Difficulty in interpersonal relationships
    • Frequent mood swings
    • Intense fear of abandonment
    • Sense of emptiness or confusion about self
    • Family conflict

Exclusionary Criteria:

  • Youth who are actively suicidal, homicidal or in need of crisis stabilization
  • When the safety of the Worker cannot be ensured
  • Where youth has active episodes of psychosis, visual and/or auditory hallucinations which impact functioning
  • Youth has a cognitive impairment which impacts capacity for insight and new learning

Referral Sources:

  • Self-referrals
  • Community service providers
  • Hospitals
  • Youth Justice Services
  • Peel School Boards
  • Peel Children’s Aid
  • Internal Referrals from AYSP Programs

Referral Process:

Interested parties should contact the AYSP Intake Specialist at 905.890.5222, for consultation regarding appropriateness for the DBT Program. If suitable, Youth Intake Specialist will arrange to complete an Intake, ChYMH Screener + and subsequent assessments. The youth will then be placed on the DBT waitlist.

TREE – Tolerating & Regulating Emotions Effectively (DBT Skills Training Program)

The TREE group is a 16 week Skills Group which aims to enhance a youth’s capacity to cope with and/or problem solve presenting problems by providing the opportunity to learn and rehearse new skillful behaviours, including: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, dialectical thinking and validation.

Goals of the Program:

  • To increase client’s knowledge and acquisition of DBT skills
  • To increase skills strengthening by conducting homework reviews and providing constructive feedback on efficacy of skills implementation and rehearsal
  • To provide bi-weekly consultation with the case manager of youth participating in the DBT-ST group to increase client’s skills generalization across all relevant social contexts

Inclusionary Criteria:

  • Youth who reside in Peel
  • Youth aged 14 to 17
  • Youth demonstrates willingness to attend 16 consecutive weeks of group sessions at AYSP
  • A Case Manager is actively involved with the youth (i.e. regular weekly sessions), and will remain active during the duration of the youth’s participation in the group
  • Youth demonstrates capacity for insight and new learning in a group setting
  • Youth has 1 or more of these presenting concerns affecting 1-2 areas of functioning: suicidal thoughts, infrequent or irregular suicidal urges, infrequent non-suicidal self-harm, emotion dysregulation, depression and/or anxiety, difficulty with interpersonal relationships, poor school attendance/school refusal, substance use

Exclusionary Criteria:

  • Youth does not have an active Case Manager who can be involved for the duration of group (16 weeks)
  • Youth has a cognitive impairment which impacts capacity for insight and new learning
  • Youth has episodes of psychosis, visual and/or auditory hallucinations which impact functioning
  • Youth requires the comprehensive DBT program