Youth school refusal is a significant societal problem with broad negative long-term consequences, yet few treatments have been developed for this population. This paper reports on the development and implementation of a novel treatment program, Dialectical Behavior Therapy for School Refusal (DBT-SR), that attempts to address limitations in both existing treatment models and current delivery systems. DBT-SR employs a multimodal approach to directly address the severe emotional and behavioral dysregulation mechanisms maintaining school refusal behavior. It also incorporates a web-based coaching component to provide active, real-time skills coaching to youth and parents at the times, and in the context, of greatest need (at home, during morning hours). A pilot trial and illustrative case examples provide "proof of concept" that DBT-SR is reasonably feasible and acceptable to clients and therapists and that web-based coaching provides incremental, unique benefit. Significant development remains, as participant recruitment proved a challenge in this trial. However, results suggest that DBT-SR is a promising, novel intervention that deserves further development.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Psychology
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- School refusal
- Web-based coaching