Balancing Change and Acceptance in Youth Work: Applying DBT Principles

9:00am - August 10, 2021 thru 1:30pm - August 10, 2021 | Timezone: US/Central
Great Lakes MHTTC
Registration Deadline:
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The Great Lakes MHTTC in partnership with WAFCA offer this training for behavioral health professionals in HHS Region 5: IL, IN, MI, MN, OH, an WI.  This training is offered in response to a need identified by Region 5 stakeholders.


Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a well-established, empirically supported treatment for helping individuals who experience recurrent, complex emotional and behavioral problems with a special emphasis on reducing self-destructive behaviors. DBT provides a comprehensive philosophy, intervention framework, and set of practical skills that youth with various behavioral health difficulties can benefit from. DBT has been adapted for use with adolescents in outpatient, inpatient, and school settings and is known to be effective in reducing a wide range of psychiatric problems. This workshop will provide participants with a foundational understanding of the DBT philosophical principles and framework for approaching one’s work with youth presenting with multiple challenging issues.

Participants will practice the core philosophy of balancing change and acceptance while also learning the foundational goals of teaching each of the four skill sets of DBT. In addition to providing an overview of the four skill areas, participants will be engaged in a deeper exploration and application of selected interpersonal and distress tolerance skills deemed to be particularly important to supporting/ treating youth in residential and child welfare/justice system environments. The workshop will use a variety of case examples, small and large group discussions, and application exercises to bring the concepts and skills to life for participants. Participants will leave this workshop with a foundational understanding of how to integrate DBT principles and select skills into their work with youth. It is designed to enhance one’s comfort and skills for supporting youth with a variety of behavioral health problems.



  • explain how acceptance and change are used to effectively treat youth with complex behavioral health problems
  • describe the foundational skills of DBT and their application to treating youth problems
  • teach and support a youth’s use of at least one interpersonal and one distress tolerance skill 

WAFCA will provide 4 NBCC continuing education hours to those who attend the entire four-hour training event. Partial credit will be provided to those who choose to attend only part of the event.



Jennifer MuehlenkampJennifer J. Muehlenkamp, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist and Professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She received her doctorate from Northern Illinois University after completing her clinical internship within the Child and Adolescent Outpatient Psychiatry Department at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, specializing in adolescent Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Dr. Muehlenkamp is an internationally renowned expert on non-suicidal self-injury and suicide; having published nearly 100 research articles and book chapters on the topics of assessment, treatment, and risk & protective factors. She is a co-author of two books (Non-Suicidal Self-Injury in Eating Disorders and Nonsuicidal Self-Injury: Advances in Psychotherapy) and is a regular consultant to mental and behavioral health professionals in her region. Dr. Muehlenkamp’s scholarly work has been honored with awards from the American Association of Suicidology and Self-Injury Awareness Network.

She has received over $2 million dollars in local and federal grants from SAMHSA and the National Institute of Mental Health to support her work. In addition to her research and teaching, Dr. Muehlenkamp is the director of her University’s Suicide Prevention and Research Collaborative, she is a board member of her State and County Suicide Prevention Coalitions, and she is Past-President and a Fellow of the International Society for the Study of Self-Injury. She brings her knowledge, expertise, and clinical experiences to life within her workshops to ensure all participants walk away with useful tools they can use in their practice.