Guidelines for Choosing a DBT Therapist

Choosing which DBT program to attend is an important choice. Educating yourself on what to look for is critical! DBT is an evidence-based treatment developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) as well as other diagnoses. Attending a program offering comprehensive DBT can result in positive changes. When DBT is not done as designed, the results may not be the same, causing the person to lose hope and trust and then to be reluctant to try DBT again. Therefore, it is critical to be sure that your DBT therapist is truly qualified to practice DBT. The Linehan Institute recently developed a credential process to authenticate the standards delivered by DBT clinicians, and clinicians at our Center are in various stages of certification.

Getting the best outcomes possible from DBT requires a comprehensively trained DBT therapist who provides services with strong fidelity to the DBT model.  Without this, patients may not improve at the same rate or to the same extent as those who receive comprehensive DBT.

We have put together a list of questions when contacting DBT programs or clinicians for information that we hope is helpful to you:

  • Have you completed a 10 day Intensive Training?
  • Have you completed a 5 day Foundational Training?
  • Are you currently a member of a DBT consultation team?
  • Have you been supervised by an expert DBT therapist?
  • When was the last DBT training you attended?
  • How often do you attend DBT trainings?
  • Do you teach skills classes weekly?
  • Do you practice Behavior Chain Analysis?
  • Are you familiar with the main sets of DBT strategies (CBT, validation, dialectics)?
  • Do you provide phone coaching?
  • Do you use Diary Cards?

At the DBT Center of Orange County our goal is to ensure the highest standards and quality in delivery of DBT services to YOU!

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