Step-UPP® for Tweens

The STEP-UPP® program for tweens for tweens has been uniquely developed and equips them with skills to navigate emotional challenges during their tween years. It focuses on developing emotional management, interpersonal, and decision-making skills. Tweens face social,developmental, and academic pressures like peer interactions, self-confidence, self-discovery, impulsive behaviours, andmaintaining friendships.

Tailored for grades 4-7 or ages 8-12, our goal is to empower tweens to develop effective behavioural strategies known as “life development skills.”

Where Skills Meet Fun

Drawing inspiration from the transformative principles of DBT, The Step-Upp® for Teens programme was crafted. 

We then had a eureka moment when we realised that if we could arm the tweens with these incredible skills even before they became teenagers, they would be super ready to rock the world of social media and handle the whirlwind of their busy lives!

So, through the guidance of Laeni Gittins and Jonathan Mitchell, the Step-Upp® for Tweens programme was born with a sprinkle of magic and a dash of excitement, taking the awesomeness of the Teens program and tailoring it just for our younger superheroes. We wanted to give them a head start, preparing them to face life’s challenges with confidence and grace.

 Step-Upp® for Tweens targets emotional and behavioral dysregulation in pre-adolescent children. Our goal is to teach adaptive coping skills that empower tweens to navigate life’s challenges and build a solid foundation for their future success.

Retaining the principles of DBT, our programme incorporates almost all of the adult DBT skills and didactics into the curriculum, while adapting the presentation and packaging to suit the developmental and cognitive levels of tweens.
With Step-Upp® for Tweens, tweens learn to respond to their feelings and behaviors with greater effectiveness. These skills enable them to better cope with conflicts, regulate their emotions, and handle the ups and downs of life.

The four main areas in which tweens typically encounter difficulties (managing emotions, handling anxiety, self-discovery/focus, impulsive behaviours, and interpersonal challenges) align with the four DBT® skills modules that can address these challenges (Emotion Regulation, Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, and Interpersonal Effectiveness, respectively).


Tweens often experience intense and rapidly changing emotions, which can lead to impulsive behaviours based on emotions. Sometimes tweens struggle to recognize their emotions or the physical sensations associated with them. The skills taught in the Emotion Regulation module address the identification and labeling of emotions, as well as strategies to decrease unpleasant emotions and increase positive ones.


The tween years are a time of self-exploration, where tweens begin to develop their identity, interests, values, and goals. Peer influence, social media, and other external pressures can make it challenging for tweens to understand themselves. Additionally, maintaining focus and avoiding distractions can be difficult during this stage. By practicing the skills taught in the Mindfulness

module (referred to as “core” mindfulness skills to highlight their importance), tweens can enhance self-awareness and attention control. These skills are crucial for making centred decisions about themselves and staying focused on tasks or activities.


Tweens may engage in impulsive behaviors that can pose problems. At times, impulsive actions serve as a way to escapefrom uncomfortable emotions. The skills learned in the Distress Tolerance module help tweens endure emotional distress effectively, preventing impulsive reactions from exacerbating the situation.


Many individuals struggle with effectively expressing their needs, setting boundaries, building and maintaining relationships, and preserving self-respect during social interactions. The Interpersonal Effectiveness module focuses on three main sets of skills that aim to increase success in each of these challenging areas.

We equip your tween with the tools they need to thrive and flourish as they embark on a journey of self-discovery and growth. Using art, movement and play can help teach tweens DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) skills in several ways:


Art activities allow tweens to express themselves creatively, which can be particularly important for those who struggle with verbal communication. By using art, tweens can express their emotions and thoughts in a non-verbal way, which can be less intimidating and more cathartic. We do mandala colouring, allow doodling in class and paint one clay mug during the programme.


Movement and play activities can help tweens build mindfulness skills and improve their emotional regulation. By engaging in physical activity, tweens can learn to focus their attention and regulate their emotions in a healthy way.

Overall, art, movement, and play can provide tweens with a fun and engaging way to learn DBT skills, which can be particularly effective for this age group.