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dbt for college students.

DBT is a comprehensive treatment program that can be difficult to implement in the college counseling setting.  However, research has demonstrated that it is possible to implement a variety of diffent types of DBT programs within college counseling centers.  Successful programs include those that offer comprehensive DBT (i.e. all 4 modes of DBT), skills training only as a supplement for individual therapy already being provided in the counseling center, and stand-alone skills training groups (without individual therapy via the counseling center).


dbt skills as universal education

Dr. Chugani's newest research also investigates DBT skills training delivered as a 3-credit undergraduate college course.  This course, titled, "Wellness and Resilience for College and Beyond" was originally developed by Dr. James Mazza at the University of Washington, where nearly 1000 students per year enroll in the course.  In partnership with Dr. Mazza, Dr. Chugani is investigating the health outcomes associated with the Wellness Course in research trial with 5 college campuses.  For more information about this ongoing research or to learn about how to get involved, please contact Dr. Chugani directly using the contact form.  For more information about Dr. Mazza's work on DBT in Middle and High Schools or to contact him directly, please visit his website:


dbt & college counseling centers

For more information on how DBT is currently being implemented in college counseling centers internationally, consider reviewing the research studies cited below and/or joining DBT-CCC, the listserv for college counseling professionals interested in the practice of DBT.  You can join today by sending a membership request to

links to the research

The following papers offer further guidance regarding DBT research related college students and/or college counseling centers.  All of the papers listed below are active links that will take you to the abstracts of the papers.  In the case of paper that are still in press, selecting the link will allow you to email me directly for access to a copy of the paper.



Chugani, C.D.  (2017).  Adapting dialectical behavior therapy for college counseling centers.  Journal of College Counseling, 20(1), 67-80.

Chugani, C.D.  (2015).  Dialectical behavior therapy in college counseling centers:  Current literature and implications for practice.  Journal of College Student Psychotherapy, 29, 120-131.

Chugani, C.D., Ghali, M.N., & Brunner, J.  (2013).  Effectiveness of short term dialectical behavior skills training in college students with cluster B personality disorders.  Journal of College Student Psychotherapy, 27(4), 323-336.

Chugani, C.D. & Landes, S.J.  (2016).  Dialectical behavior therapy in college counseling centers:  Current trends and barriers to implementation.  Journal of College Student Psychotherapy, 30(3), 176-186.

Engle, E., Gadischkie, S., Roy, N., & Nunziato, D.  (2013).  Dialectical behavior therapy for a college population:  Applications at Sarah Lawrence and beyond.  Journal of College Student Psychotherapy, 27(1), 11-30.  


Fleming, A. P., McMahon, R. J., Moran, L. R., Peterson, A. P., & Dreessen, A. (2015). Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of Dialectical Behavior Therapy Group Skills Training for ADHD Among College Students. Journal of Attention Disorders, 19(3), 260-271. doi:10.1177/1087054714535951

Kannan D, Chugani CD, Muhomba M.  (2019). A qualitative analysis of college counseling center staff perceptions of the utility of dialectical behavior therapy programs on campus. Journal of College Student Psychotherapy. Published online ahead of print May, 2019.

Lee, S., & Mason, M. (2018). Effectiveness of Brief DBT-informed Group Therapy on Psychological Resilience: A Preliminary Naturalistic Study. Journal of College Student Psychotherapy, 33(1), 25-37. doi:10.1080/87568225.2018.1425646

Lin, T.-J., Ko, H.-C., Wu, J. Y.-W., Oei, T. P., Lane, H.-Y., & Chen, C.-H. (2018). The Effectiveness of Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Training Group vs. Cognitive Therapy Group on Reducing Depression and Suicide Attempts for Borderline Personality Disorder in Taiwan. Archives of Suicide Research, 23(1), 82-99. doi:10.1080/13811118.2018.1436104

Lothes, J. E., II, & Mochrie, K. (2017). The "What" and "Hows" of Mindfulness: Using DBT's Mindfulness Skills to Reduce Test Anxiety. Building Healthy Academic Communities Journal, 1(2), 10-20. doi:10.18061/bhac.v1i2.6029


Meaney-Tavares, R. & Hasking, P.  (2013).  Coping and regulating emotions:  A pilot study of a modified dialectical behavior therapy group delivered in a college counseling service. Journal of American College Health, 61(5), 303-309.

Muhomba, M., Chugani, C.D., Uliaszek, A.A., & Kannan, D.  (2017).  Distress tolerance skills for college students:  A pilot investigations of a brief DBT group skills training program.  Journal of College Student Psychotherapy.  (Published online ahead of print).


Panepinto, A.R., Uschold, C.C., Olandese, M., & Linn, B.K.  (2015).  Beyond borderline personality disorder: Dialectical behavior therapy in a college counseling center.  Journal of College Student Psychotherapy, 29, 211-226.

Pistorello, J., Fruzzetti, A.E., MacLane, C., Gallop, R., & Iverson, K.M.  (2012).  Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) applied to college students:  A randomized clinical trial.  Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 80(6), 982-994.


Rizvi, S.L. & Steffel, L.M.  (2014).  A pilot study of 2 brief forms of dialectical behavior therapy skills training for emotion dysregulation in college students.  Journal of American College Health, 62(6), 434-439.

Uliaszek, A.A., Rashid, T., Williams, G.E., & Gulamani, T.  (2016).  Group therapy for university students:  A randomized controlled trial of dialectical behavior therapy and positive psychotherapy.  Behaviour Research and Therapy, 77, 78-85.

Üstündağ-Budak, A. M., Özeke-Kocabaş, E., & Ivanoff, A. (2019). Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Skills Training to Improve Turkish College Students’ Psychological Well-Being: A Pilot Feasibility Study. International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling, 1-18. doi:10.1007/s10447-019-09379-5

Video Resources:

Click here to visit TIC, LLC's website, where you can view a free webinar featuring Drs. Carla Chugani and Jacqueline Pistorello discussing the practice and implementation of DBT in college counseling centers!

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