Therapists and others in the mental health services community collectively work to help people navigate through life. These professionals provide considerable care to patients and offer treatment that help change the lives of many. DBT, or dialectical behavior therapy, is a therapeutic modality beneficial for patients experiencing behavioral issues and difficulties with their emotions. 

DBT is helpful to people who seek to reduce extreme emotional suffering and increase effective coping behaviors. Many people come to try DBT after they have experienced no improvement with other types of therapy. DBT provides patients with helpful skills and techniques to effectively manage their emotions and behaviors. This process helps the patient and therapist focus on target behaviors and gain insight into their emotions and actions.

As an evidence-based treatment, DBT has gained more and more popularity in the treatment world in recent years. Many professionals are now offering components of DBT as a treatment option. However, not all providers offer the comprehensive DBT treatment with fidelity to the treatment protocol as it was researched. Many providers will teach DBT skills but not engage in full DBT treatment. DBT as a treatment modality is complex and requires intensive training and on-going feedback for the DBT providers. Comprehensive or adherent protocol DBT treatment requires that the DBT clients and providers engage in all four components of DBT: Individual DBT Therapy, DBT Skills Training, Phone Coaching, and Consultation Team for the therapists. 

The DBT- Linehan Board of Certification is the certification body that helps people clearly identify the individual DBT providers and treatment programs that have the knowledge and skills to provider DBT in a way that is matching the treatment model as it was developed and researched by Dr. Linehan and colleagues. 

Finding DBT-Linehan certified clinician or programs can be a helpful way in ensuring that the provider is qualified and practicing DBT adherently.

Learn what it means for a clinician or program to have their DBT-Linehan certification.

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What Does It Mean to Be DBT-Linehan Board Certified?

There are two types of certification that the DBT-Linehan Board of Certification offers: individual DBT clinician and DBT treatment program. An Individual can become a DBT-Linehan Board of Certification, Certified ClinicianTM after completing a rigorous assessment process which includes documented 40 hours of didactic DBT training, passed an examination, passed work product demonstration, have clinical experience in DBT and at least 12 months of DBT consultation team. A DBT-Linehan Board of Certification Certified ClinicianTM must also be a licensed mental health practitioner with at least a graduate degree in the mental health field and a formal training in mindfulness.

Programs approved by the DBT-Linehan Board of Certification must have a DBT team leader who is a DBT-Linehan Board of Certification, Certified ClinicianTM. The program invites experts in DBT treatment to observe, review, and evaluate the practices of their DBT program. The extensive process consists of scoring of responses to a Program Fidelity Scale questionnaire as well as reviewing program document and file to see the structure of the DBT program. The treatment experts who serve as the site reviewers conduct interviews with treatment providers and clients, and perform on-site observations of the DBT program practices in action.

Receiving a DBT-Linehan Certification is a major accomplishment for any DBT provider. This certification is the only DBT certifying body with active participation and endorsement of Marsha M. Linehan, Ph.D., founder and developer of DBT. The extensive review and examination of the program ensure that the clinicians and programs have the qualification and intent to provide gold standard care. It gives patients and their families assurance that the facility has adequate knowledge of assisting patients who suffer from extreme emotional and behavioral problems.

The Benefits of DBT-Linehan Board Certification for Patients

The Benefits of DBT-Linehan Board Certification for Patients

A DBT-Linehan Board Certification has its perks for DBT programs, therapists, the DBT field and patients alike. When patients search for a therapist, clinic or program for care, certifications are important recognitions that stand out and help patients select who they’ll work with for their treatment.

A valuable benefit of clinicians and programs having a DBT-Linehan Board Certification is showing clients that you have gone through the rigorous process to show that you and your program offer the real, comprehensive DBT. The process of certification helps give feedback and challenge the clinicians and programs to think about their DBT practice and improve the way they deliver DBT. Providers that don’t have a DBT certification may still have similar training and techniques, but they haven’t gone through the process of proving that they have the knowledge and ability to provider DBT.

When a program is certified by the DBT – Linehan Board or Certification, clients can feel confident that the program has the staff and the protocol to support clients in comprehensive DBT treatment. DBT has been shown to be an effective modality of treatment. DBT has proven to help decrease the following:

  • Mood instability
  • Chaotic relationships
  • Self-harm behaviors
  • Impulsive behaviors

DBT certified treatment programs could also help patients understand personal boundaries, manage relationships and deal with intense emotions. Clinicians who have their DBT certification and clinicians who are working toward their certification show dedication, hard work, and passion for using DBT to help their clients. Clients look for those professionals because they want to trust that their treatment will meet DBT standards and want to work with a recognized knowledgeable expert in the field.

The DBT-Linehan Board Certification Process

The DBT certification process follows numerous steps in order for a clinician to become a DBT-Linehan board certified clinician. The process to become a certified therapist can take multiple years. The therapist must be a licensed professional, in good standing in the community as well as a person who has intensive training and extensive experience in the practice of DBT. The clinician follows this process:

  • Meet DBT certification requirements: The first thing you’ll need to do is check out the information under Clinician Certification Information on the DBT-Linehan Board of Certification website to confirm that you meet all of the requirements for certification.
  • Begin the application process: Once you confirm you meet all of the requirements, you can start the DBT application under the certification section on the DBT-Linehan Board of Certification website.
  • Take the exam: After approval of your application, you can take the exam. This exam is based on the training and skills manuals from Dr. Linehan.
  • Pass the exam: You must pass the DBT-Linehan certification exam to move on in the certification process.
  • Participate in the Work Product section: The Work Product portion of the process tests your ability to use your knowledge and provide treatment to a patient. You’ll provide three videos of real treatment sessions with a client and a write-up for each of the cases.
  • Become certified: Once you pass both the exam and the Work Product portion of the process, you will officially be a DBT-Linehan Board Certified clinician.

If you’re looking to take the exam during a certain time, make sure you complete your application at least two months before that date. This window of time will allow for the review and approval of your application.

How Hillside Provides DBT Treatment

Hillside proudly provides mental health and DBT treatment for young patients and their families. Our treatment facility is known for providing effective therapy, resources and tools to help adolescents, children and family members. Our DBT certified program shows positive results in many young patients who did not show improvements in other forms of therapy.

Our DBT treatments impact four main targets, including:

  1. Decreasing life-threatening behaviors
  2. Decreasing therapy-interfering behaviors
  3. Decreasing quality-of-life-interfering behaviors
  4. Increase coping skills

Many professionals have recently seen the positive impact that DBT can make in adolescents who struggle with relationships, anxiety and behavioral and emotional issues.

Contact Hillside for More Information

Contact Hillside for More Information

Since 2006, the clinical team at Hillside has used DBT as a treatment modality with adolescents. All of the clinicians at Hillside have received DBT training and are passional about improving the lives of those struggling with mental health. Hillside is proud to be the first residential treatment program in the nation to be recognized as a DBT – Linehan Board of Certification, Certified ProgramTM in April 2018. Contact us for more information on DBT and DBT-informed treatment in our continuum of services: residential, outpatient and community intervention services.

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