The Second Edition of the STEPPS Program incorporates a number of additions and changes since the original publication of STEPPS. These changes reflect the experience of facilitators and participants throughout the US and internationally, in diverse populations, and in a variety of settings, spanning the more than 20 years that STEPPS has been used. The program consists of three main parts plus a number of supporting files, all contained on a USB Flash Drive. For more information, click anywhere in this paragraph.



The STEPPS YP group therapy approach is intended as a resource for younger people, to help them manage emotional intensity. The program materials are published on a USB Flash Drive, and include worksheets that may be copied and distributed to patients/clients. For more information, click anywhere in this paragraph.



STEPPS EI - Early Intervention - was developed to help people who have difficulties due to emotional intensity, but do not meet a formal diagnosis. The materials are published on a USB Flash Drive, and include worksheets that may be copied and distributed to patients/clients. For more information, click anywhere in this paragraph.



We offer treatment programs for Borderline Personality Disorder and Emotional Intensity Difficulties. The programs we offer are:

  • Evidence-based
  • Group format
  • Psychoeducational
  • Manual-driven
  • Cognitive behavioral+ skills training
  • Confronts early schemas (mental filters)
  • Systems approach
  • Includes support team



Nancee S. Blum

Nancee S. Blum, MSW, LISW

Nancee S. Blum is a retired adjunct clinical faculty member from the Department of Psychiatry at Iowa. (USA) She also was...

Don St. John

Don St. John, MA, PA

Don St. John graduated from the University of Wisconsin Physician Assistant Program in 1977. In the following several years working...

Norman E. Bartels

Norman E. Bartels, MA, MPA

As a Mental Health Residential Manager for the DuPage County Health Department in Illinois in the early 1980s, Norman set out to...

Bruce M. Pfohl

Bruce M. Pfohl, MD

Bruce Pfohl completed a psychiatric residency at the University of Iowa and joined the faculty in 1981. He is a professor emeritus of psychiatry...


STEPPS Program Has
To Offer

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) has been described as a disorder of emotional regulation. A person with this disorder often experiences very intense emotions and has difficulty regulating them. STEPPS (Systems Training for Emotional Predictability and Problem Solving) is a manual-guided teaching program. In the STEPPS manual, BPD is often referred to as Emotional Intensity Disorder (EID). Participants learn about the behaviors and feelings that define BPD/EID and learn various emotion management and behavioral skills to help manage the disorder.

Participants learn a new "language" to use in thinking about their disorder and communicate about the disorder with others in their "system" - the people with whom they share information about their disorder and what they are learning in the program.

These might be health care professionals, family members, significant others, and/or close friends. We refer to those people as a "reinforcement team." As part of the STEPPS program, there is at least one education session for those identified as reinforcement team members.

STEPPS focuses on the present rather than the past. The past cannot be changed, but the skills learned in this program can help make the present and the future a more positive experience. Participants work on changing how they think about themselves, the world, and other people. They also work on specific lifestyle behaviors such as eating, sleep patterns, exercise, leisure activities, physical health, and relationships.

Attending a STEPPS group is similar to attending a class (although usually taught in a group setting, the materials can also be used in individual therapy if someone cannot participate in a group). Typically, a treatment group meets once a week for two hours, for 20 weeks. The group leader(s) are the teachers and the students' group members.

Members receive an outline of the lesson each week and workbook materials for each session, including a homework assignment to complete before the next meeting. After the first few lessons, group members are encouraged to help with some of the teaching activities if they are comfortable doing this.

Besides the written materials, the lessons also use songs, poetry, art activities, and relaxation exercises. If a member has an exceptional talent for writing poems or creating artwork, they may enjoy sharing them with the group when it fits into the material being discussed. The STEPPS manual contains poems and pictures contributed by previous participants.

If working with an individual therapist, group members are encouraged to take their STEPPS materials to their individual therapy sessions and ask their therapist to help reinforce what they are learning in the STEPPS program.

Please feel free to contact us for more information about us and our manuals.


Special Notice

In accordance with current guidelines and with best practices in mind, we are working from home and suspending our regular shipping procedures, which require routine visits to the local post office. We are using only shipping services we can access entirely online. Unfortunately, those services may increase the cost of shipping, both in the US and to non-US destinations. In addition to the higher price, we have also found delivery times, especially outside of the US, to be substantially longer. To offset these shipping issues, we offer the delivery of program files via email. If you can accept large email files and wish to take delivery by email, let us know when you place your order. The facilitator guideline section of the program will be encrypted, and a password is required to open it. You will be provided with a password via a separate email. The cost of this service is the same as the standard cost of shipping. If you still want to receive the files via physical mail, let us know that as well, and we will quote a delivery fee. 

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