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Young Adult Nonfiction Emotions & Feelings

Surviving the Emotional Roller Coaster

DBT Skills to Help Teens Manage Emotions

by (author) Sheri Van Dijk

New Harbinger Publications
Initial publish date
Jan 2016
Emotions & Feelings
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2016
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 13 to 18
  • Grade: 8 to 12


The teen years are an emotional roller coaster. So, how can you make it through? In this important guide, leading dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and teen expert Sheri Van Dijk offers four core skills to help you manage your emotional ups and downs, build great relationships, and thrive!

As a teen, you're experiencing intense changes in your life—both physically and mentally. To top it off, you're probably unsure of how to handle your emotions in a positive, constructive way. Surviving the Emotional Roller Coaster offers evidence-based techniques to help you regulate your emotions and find balance in all areas of life— whether it's at home, at school, or with friends and peers. By learning to be more aware of your emotions, you'll be able to let difficult feelings pass without reacting to them in destructive ways.

You will also learn the four basic DBT skills to help you manage your emotions: core mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. You'll discover how to apply these skills to help deal with a number of negative emotions, such as low self-esteem, anger, anxiety, depression, and more. By changing the way you react to your emotions and to others, you'll be able to build better relationships and feel more confident as a result.

If you’re ready to understand and better manage your feelings, stop acting on impulses, and calm yourself in moments of emotional stress, this book will show you how.

About the author

Contributor Notes

Sheri Van Dijk, MSW, is a mental health therapist and renowned dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) expert. She is author of seven books, including Calming the Emotional Storm, Don’t Let Your Emotions Run Your Life for Teens, and Relationship Skills101 for Teens. Her books focus on using DBT skills to help people manage their emotions and cultivate lasting well-being. She is also the recipient of the R.O. Jones Award from the Canadian Psychiatric Association.

Editorial Reviews

“This skill-based book brings together an array of dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)-based strategies in a well laid out, uniquely easy-to-read fashion. Surviving the Emotional Roller Coaster is a must-read as it conveys hope and encouragement to a population that has typically been seen as a clinical challenge. This resource gives readers a practical treatment plan which will undoubtedly lead them on a road to wellness.”
Michael Isaac, MEd, RSW, clinical social worker, and partner at Hofmann & Isaac Individual and Family Counselling in Aurora, Ontario, Canada

“This excellent resource is filled with great examples and practice exercises that teens can relate to. Van Dijk emphasizes the importance of learning and practicing skills at one’s own pace with the goal of making life changes to reduce suffering associated with escalating emotions.”
Francine Brill, MD, FRCP(C), child and adolescent psychiatrist in private practice in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada, and consultant to New Path Youth and Family Services

“Sheri Van Dijk has written an accessible workbook that includes useful exercises and relevant examples to help young people grow their knowledge and skills in managing their painful emotions. I will recommend this book to my adolescent clients and parents who consult me.”
Karma Guindon, MSW, PhD (candidate), RSW, RMFT, therapist in private practice, and lecturer at the University of Waterloo

“Sheri Van Dijk has hit it out of the amusement park with this skill-based approach to surviving the emotional roller coaster. She effectively helps her readers to identify their overwhelming emotions and their behavioral challenges while equipping them with practical strategies to successfully manage them. This clear, step-by-step description of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) skills will indisputably help teens to navigate the twists and turns of their emotional journey. I will definitely recommend this engaging, easy-to-use manual to my clients and their families, and I will keep it close by as a guide in helping my teen clients to traverse their social and emotional challenges.”
Francine Mendelowitz, LCSW, psychotherapist and founder of InterACT New York, an interactive approach to tackling teen challenges

Surviving the Emotional Roller Coaster is a practical guide modified to provide relevant information for teenagers coping with managing their emotions in today’s unusually demanding world. Practicing and using the techniques described in this book affects the ability to regulate emotions, shape a sense of self, and healthy emotional development. I would venture to say that this book is a must-read for all teenagers and those around them.”
Rennet Wong-Gates, MSW, RSW, child, youth, and family therapist

Surviving the Emotional Roller Coaster is an invaluable resource to any teen, parent, or professional who is dealing with the complex nature of emotional dysregulation. Sheri Van Dijk has found an eloquent and understandable way of explaining comprehensive dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) concepts to an audience that will greatly benefit. As a clinician, I plan to refer to and draw from her book in my daily practice.”
Wendy Hofmann, MSW, RSW, clinical social worker, and partner at Hofmann & Isaac Individual and Family Counselling in Aurora, Ontario, Canada

Surviving the Emotional Roller Coaster is a remarkably helpful resource for teenagers and parents, and practitioners working with teenagers. Sheri Van Dijk’s user-friendly workbook offers valuable knowledge and practical skills to help teenagers gain an understanding and awareness of their emotions and learn to manage difficult emotions, and provides guidance to surviving crises with calm. She has done a wonderful job at providing simple practices to help teenagers effectively deal with challenges in their relationships.”
Zainib Abdullah, MSW, RSW, mental health therapist and crisis worker at Southlake Regional Health Centre

“Teen readers receive an excellent and practical introduction to dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) as a method of coping with psychological distress, from everyday strife all the way to major emotional trauma. Writing with clarity, Van Dijk, a therapist and social worker, references situational triggers and lifestyle circumstances that will likely be immediately recognizable to teens. The publisher, well-known for its patient guides aimed at assisting trauma sufferers in building sound coping skills, has presented this guide in a welcoming way, so teens can feel invited to participate in the mastery of their emotions rather than be overwhelmed by analytical details. Brief chapters include exercises that can easily be completed independently, as well as suggestions for age-appropriate goal setting. … This highly accessible guide belongs in all collections serving teens.”

“In Surviving the Emotional Roller Coaster, Sheri Van Dijk has again written an engaging and user-friendly book. For teens whose emotions make their life feel as if they are on a roller coaster, this book provides hope as Van Dijk has explained the skills of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) in an understandable and easy-to-follow manner. There are plenty of examples and exercises making this an interactive book. I would definitely recommend this book to clients both young and older.”
Marilyn Becker, MSW, RSW, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) skills therapist in private practice in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada

Other titles by Sheri Van Dijk