School staff undergo behavioral therapy training

Wilton Public School District staff have been trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Training for Emotional Problem Solving for Adolescents (DBT STEPS-A).

Elizabeth and James Mazza, co-authors of the DBT Skills in Schools curriculum, led the three-day training, which began on Oct. 20, continued on Nov. 6 and 7.

DBT STEPS-A is a social and emotional learning curriculum designed to teach students skills in emotion regulation, mindfulness, distress tolerance and interpersonal effectiveness.

Each training session was five hours long, said District Safe School Climate Coordinator Kim Zemo, and close to 50 Wilton public school staff participated — including health and special education teachers, school psychologists and counselors, social workers and administrators.

Zemo said the district is “in the process of determining implementation” of DBT skills at the middle and high school, where it will be “offered as a tier one intervention, open to all students.”

Zemo said everyone can benefit from DBT skills, which not only help students interact with others and manage stress and being overwhelmed, but also “enhance focused attention” and help people be more in control of their emotions, decisions and choices.