Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

“I wholeheartedly endorse Brad Kerschensteiner for his expertise in the area of DBT training.  He presented an outstanding seminar to our pre-doctoral Psychology and Post-doctoral interns.  His information was thorough, empirically based and filled with useful clinical and experiential examples.  I consider him a leader in the fi

-Dr. Heidi Von Harscher, PhD, Director of Counseling & Wellness, Florida International University

DBT is a widely popular cognitive-behavioral approach that was originally designed for the treatment of individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD) by Marsha Linehan, PhD at the University of Washington. DBT aims to replace maladaptive methods of coping with more effective ways of achieving specific changes and goals. Finally, DBT balances behavioral change strategies with skills of acceptance, compassion and validation.

Substantial empirical evidence has demonstrated that DBT is also effective for treating a range of clinical issues that are often co-morbid with BPD such as substance abuse, mental health disorders, and eating disorders. Furthermore, research has shown that DBT reduces suicidal behavior, decreases substance abuse, improves social functioning, improves globalization of skills, reduces the frequency and duration of hospitalizations, and reduces treatment dropout. DBT has also been shown to be applicable to and easily integrated into to various treatment settings including outpatient, residential, and stabilization units.

A “full DBT” training is two days but this can be customized to meet the goals and resources of your agency. This training focuses on two areas: 1. The theoretical foundations of DBT and 2. The specific skills domains of DBT (Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation, and Distress Tolerance). Through didactic discussion, break-out groups, role-plays and other experiential exercises, participants would learn how to actually implement DBT skills into various treatment modalities, including individual psychotherapy, group therapy, and individual counseling/case management.

The primary purpose of this training is to teach and prepare participants to utilize DBT in various treatment settings and for a range of challenging clinical issues. In addition to other learning objectives, participants will be able to integrate all or parts of the DBT skills domains into their existing repertoire of clinical skills. I have trained clinical staff in a variety of treatment settings including short-term stabilization units and long-term residential settings.

Learning objectives include:

  • Participants will be able discuss the theoretical tenets of DBT.
  • Participants will be able to discuss how the symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and other disorders involving emotional dysregulation are reframed in DBT with psycho educational skills building as a primary treatment strategy.
  • Participants will learn the clinical importance of a dialectical worldview.
  • Participants will learn Core Mindfulness Skills and applications to therapy and skills groups.
  • Participants will be able to facilitate skills training groups and integrate DBT skills into their existing therapeutic repertoire.
  • Participants will be able to discuss and teach the DBT skills domains of core mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness and emotion regulation.
  • Participants will be able to discuss and demonstrate DBT orientation and commitment strategies.
  • Participants will be able to utilize diary cards in skills training.
  • Participants will be able to handle common problems that arise in skills training groups.