Dialectical Behavior Therapy Program

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a treatment for adolescents who demonstrate significant difficulty with emotion regulation/mood stability, emotion-driven impulsivity, stress management, interpersonal relationship stability, self-injurious behavior, or suicidal ideation/behavior.

The purpose of DBT is to:

  • decrease reduced awareness and focus and confusion about self; emotional dysregulation; impulsivity; interpersonal problems; and adolescent and family challenges
  • replace problem behaviors with skillful behaviors  
  • provide skills to help teens experience a range of emotions without acting on those emotions impulsively
  • help teens navigate relationships in their environment (family/school/peers)
  • help adolescents create a life worth living

Components of Our DBT Program

DBT consists of three different components for patients and families:

  • Weekly individual therapy/family therapy
  • Weekly multi-family skills group (includes teens and their guardians)
  • Crisis Phone Coaching (for teens and guardians)

Teens and parents are asked to commit to at least 6 months of consistent treatment participation.

About the DBT Multi-Family Skills Group

  • Consists of four skills modules (mindfulness skills are incorporated throughout the modules):
    • Emotion Regulation
    • Distress Tolerance
    • Interpersonal Effectiveness
    • Walking the Middle Path
  • It is expected that teens and guardians attend group together
  • Groups will be held in-person unless otherwise notified
  • Duration: One meeting weekly for 24 weeks. New group members are eligible to join every 6 weeks (at the beginning of a new skills module).
  • Location: Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain (MIDB), 2025 East River Parkway, Minneapolis, MN, 55414
  • Day/Time: Mondays or Tuesdays, 4-6 p.m.
  • Contact: 612-365-8400

Parent Involvement

Parent involvement is essential for treatment success. A parent or guardian is required to attend DBT skills group with their child, needs to be able to transport or arrange transport for in-person sessions, and needs to be willing to commit to participating in family therapy sessions as needed.

DBT Provider

The DBT Program is led by Daniel Landauer, PhD, LP, who is a child and adolescent psychologist and an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Minnesota Medical School.


  • Adolescents who have a diagnosis (either primary or secondary) of a mood disorder, anxiety disorder, or adjustment disorder and who demonstrate difficulties with the issues described above.
  • Adolescents who are within the ages of 13-18.
  • Participating adolescents must concurrently participate in individual DBT therapy
  • Adolescents/families who can commit to 6 months of consistent treatment participation


Q: Can my child continue to see their other treatment providers?
As part of the University of Minnesota DBT program, adolescents/families need to see a DBT program therapist for individual and family therapy. Adolescents/families are encouraged to continue to see their current psychiatry providers or providers who perform services other than psychotherapy (e.g., occupational therapy, etc.). If an adolescent or family wishes to maintain contact with previous outpatient therapy provider, this can be discussed with a DBT program clinician.

Q: Is treatment provided in-person or via telehealth?
A: The multifamily DBT skills group will be held in-person unless there are mitigating circumstances that would require the group to be done via telehealth (e.g., changes in COVID guidelines or extreme weather). Individual and family sessions can be provided in-person or by telehealth depending on the needs of the family. It is requested that adolescents and parents attend the initial assessment appointment in-person.

Q: How long will my child be involved in DBT?
A: Teens and parents are asked to make an initial 6-month commitment to participating in DBT. At that point, the DBT team and the family will assess progress and determine if it would be beneficial for the teen and family to participate in longer treatment. Many teens and families participate in DBT for a full year (this allows for teens/families to complete two rounds of DBT skills training). Every teen’s/family’s needs are unique and the team will work to develop an individualized treatment plan that fits those needs.