CHOC Mental Health Education Program – School-Based Staff | Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Brief Description:
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a type of therapy founded for the most complex and severe of patients…and yet, DBT skills have since been shown to be widely applicable to a broad range of people. In fact, DBT skills have been shown by research to be effective with youth as young as 6 years old all the way through adulthood. While youth at any time in history can benefit from learning coping skills, the youth of today are in particularly dire need. This presentation introduces guiding principles that help make DBT skills so successful, and uses information about the brain, emotions, and human development to illustrate their power. The presentation will then outline a set of skills to increase flexibility and balance in the lives of youth, abilities that improve resilience and overall wellness. Even though it may sound mystical, DBT skills are concrete, easy to understand, and fun to coach youth to use. At their core, DBT skills teach people how to respond to stress and strong emotions, and how to live their happiest, healthiest lives; and that sounds like exactly what we are all looking for!

Date Aired: April 27, 2022 | 2:00 – 3:00 PM

Presenter: Micaela Thordarson, PhD

Presenter Bio: Dr. Thordarson began her journey with CHOC in 2017 when she was brought on board to develop and run the adolescent intensive outpatient program. Dr. Thordarson and her team are intensively trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and use their expertise to treat teens experiencing severe forms of depression and anxiety that often manifest with suicidal and self-harming behaviors. To Dr. Thordarson, the very best part of her job is getting to see how families feel so supported by what they learn in DBT and the IOP. In addition to working with families, the IOP is a training clinic that teaches psychology graduate students at various levels of training how to be great DBT therapists.


  • Attendees will understand the basic guiding principles for applying DBT skills
  • Attendees will learn the biological and social functions of emotion
  • Attendees will learn skills related to flexibility and balance that can be applied in a wide range of student settings