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Young Adult Nonfiction Self-mutilation

The DBT Skills Workbook for Teen Self-Harm

Practical Tools to Help You Manage Emotions and Overcome Self-Harming Behaviors

by (author) Sheri Van Dijk

New Harbinger Publications
Initial publish date
Mar 2021
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2021
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 13 to 18
  • Grade: 8 to 12


Put an end to self-harming behaviors—once and for all.

Do you cut or self-harm? Do you feel like it gives you a sense of control in a world where you so often feel helpless and powerless? Do you do it to distract from emotional pain, or just feel something other than total numbness? There's a long list of reasons why you may self-harm. But regardless of the reason or the method, the truth is that self-harm is a destructive—and potentially deadly—way to deal with emotional pain. Fortunately, there are healthier and safer ways to manage your emotions. 

In The DBT Skills Workbook for Teen Self-Harm, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) expert Sheri Van Dijk offers powerful skills to help you manage your emotions, so you won't have to rely on self-destructive behaviors. Whether you're actively engaging in self-harm by injuring your body, or participating in other self-destructive behaviors such as substance abuse or disordered eating, this workbook will help you create your own action plan for change.

This workbook will guide you through four essential DBT skills:

  • Mindfulness shows you how to experience emotion without having to act on it
  • Distress tolerance teaches you how to deal with the urge to self-harm
  • Emotional regulation allows you to understand and control painful feelings
  • Interpersonal effectiveness helps you build self-respect and minimize feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness


Life can be painful, but you don’t need to face this pain all on your own. With support, and the skills outlined in this workbook, you’ll gain the tools you need to manage difficult thoughts and feelings in safer, healthier ways.

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 Skills 101 for Teens. Her books focus on using DBT skills to help people manage their emotions and cultivate lasting well-being. She is the recipient of the R.O. Jones Award from the Canadian Psychiatric Association.

Editorial Reviews

“In this engaging workbook, Van Dijk provides teens who self-harm with invaluable guidance on key DBT skills. The workbook will resonate with teens through vivid and youth-relevant examples, engaging exercises, and a clear and creative way of organizing and presenting the DBT skills. Teens will find wise guidance not only on how to overcome self-harm, but more importantly, how to build a life worth living. I strongly recommend this workbook for teens who struggle with self-harm.”
—Alexander L. Chapman, PhD, RPsych, professor of psychology at Simon Fraser University, president of the DBT Centre of Vancouver, and coauthor of The Borderline Personality Disorder Survival Guide

“Sheri Van Dijk has done it again! This informative and practical book will be invaluable in helping people to understand why they engage in self-harming behaviors, and how they can use DBT skills to develop alternative responses to their emotional distress.”
—Greg Samuelson, registered nurse and registered psychotherapist practicing in Ontario, Canada; and founding member of the Canadian Network for Compassion Focused Therapy

“This workbook provides an easy-to-use tool for teens engaging in self-harming and self-destructive behaviors. Parents, clinicians, and others within a teen’s circle of care will also benefit from the psychoeducation this book holds. The workbook uses teen-friendly language, illuminating stories, and engaging activities to explore healthier patterns of behavior. Used on its own or in addition to psychotherapy, this provides an excellent option for teens looking to improve well-being.”
—Michelle Brans, MA, registered psychotherapist with the Ontario College of Psychotherapists; clinical director of Counting Butterflies Child, Youth and Family Wellness; and psychotherapist in private practice specializing in teenage and emerging adult mental well-being

“Inflicting physical pain to release emotional pain can have debilitating effects on a teen’s life. With unparalleled expertise in DBT, Sheri gives you an easy-to-follow guide that enables readers to assess problematic coping patterns, and challenge self-harming behaviors in meaningful and lasting ways. Detailed examples validate personal experiences and demonstrate how to implement skills to reduce suffering.”
—Shivani V. Gupta MSW, RSW, clinical director at Oakridges Therapy Centre in Richmond Hill, ON, Canada

“This warm, easy-to-understand workbook takes readers on a journey to understand why they may engage in self-harming behaviors, and teaches them healthier alternatives to manage their emotions. Sheri Van Dijk breaks down the practical strategies and skills offered in this workbook in a compassionate, nonjudgmental way. An essential tool for any teen struggling with self-harm!”
—Maggie Mullen, LCSW, culturally responsive social worker, national trainer, and author of The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook for Psychosis

“I highly recommend this book for all teachers and parents to read. I have been teaching for more than thirty years and cutting is one of the biggest problems among teens. I’ve seen many of my students struggle with this disorder. The problem is I haven’t found a reliable form of therapy for this disorder. Luckily, this book will help. It is based on dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) skills, and provides solutions and easy-to-follow strategies for those with self-harming tendencies.”
—Jackson Yee, MA, middle school teacher

“Sheri Van Dijk does a wonderful job explaining self-harming and self-destructive behaviors in non-shaming ways. She starts the book by saying that people engage in these behaviors for valid reasons—they want to cope with painful experiences and emotions. However, we soon learn that there are more healthy and effective ways to deal with difficulties and pain. This book is well written and accessible for teens (and adults) who want to work through the skill-building exercises on their own or with a therapist. This workbook is helpful for those dealing with difficult life situations and painful emotions so they can live a healthier life.”
—Karma Guindon, PhD, RSW, CCFT, psychotherapist, consultant, and educator in private practice in Bolton and Newmarket, ON, Canada

“Sheri does an exceptional job of outlining valuable skills; and describes a way for the reader to incorporate them into their lives. We can lose the power of a message with complicating theories and in-depth explanations. Sheri has managed to demonstrate incredible acceptance and validation, with positive and accessible directions for change; and she does so beautifully in print form. Within the learning and choices offered here, there is an invitation to pause and consider the options available. Well suited in both her choice of language, and balancing both text and worksheets. This workbook offers a path to recover from unhealthy coping, while learning how to emotionally regulate.”
—Leanne M. Garfinkel, MA, SEP, registered psychotherapist (CRPO)

Other titles by Sheri Van Dijk