Finding a DBT Therapist

 

DBT is probably the most hopeful and helpful evidence-based treatment today for people with severe emotion and behavior dysregulation.  It is important to see a trained DBT therapist who practices standard DBT as designed in order to see effective changes and positive treatment outcomes.

 

Many clinicians claim that they practice DBT without having the training, clinical experience, and knowledge to provide effective treatment.  One way for clients to locate well-trained DBT therapists is to ask them the following questions:

 

  1. Have you completed a 10-day intensive DBT training from Behavioral Tech? 

  2. Are you and your team working toward DBT certification from Linehan Board of Certification (DBT-LBC)?

  3. Are you currently a member of a DBT consultation team? Does your team meet weekly and follow standard DBT consultation team guidelines? 

  4. Have you been supervised by an expert DBT therapist?

  5. Are you familiar with the main sets of DBT strategies (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectics, Validation)?

  6. Do you continue receiving DBT and Behavioral/Exposure training for addressing clients' stage II difficulties? 

  7. Do you teach skills, practice behavior chain analysis, review diary cards?

  8. Do you do phone coaching between sessions?

 

The answers to the above questions should all be "yes." You have a right to check on the therapist’s credentials; to know the therapist’s education and training; the therapist’s experience in treating clients with similar problems; and the therapist’s arrangement for coverage or emergency contacts.  

Dr. Chu’s Answers:

 

1. Have you completed a 10 day intensive DBT training from Dr. Linehan’s Behavioral Tech? 

Yes.  I have completed a 10-day intensive DBT training program from Behavioral Tech in 2013.  My trainers are leading experts in DBT, Dr. Alec Miller and Dr. Christine Foertsch. I have also completed two separate two day DBT workshops from DBT expert Dr. Adam Payne at Behavioral Tech in 2010 as well as online training for Behavioral Chain Analysis (2016) and DBT Skills (2017). Prior to my DBT Intensive Training, I organized and hosted a-year long bi-weekly DBT Study Group with mental health professionals at Maimonides Medical Center in 2011.  

 

2. Are you working toward DBT certification from Linehan Board of Certification (DBT-LBC)? 

Yes. I am certified in DBT by Linehan Board of Certification in January 2020.  Most of the members in our DBT Consultation Team are either certified or working toward certification.  

 

3. Are you a member of a DBT consultation team? Does your team meet weekly and follow standard DBT consultation team guidelines?  

Yes. Previously, I co-founded the Brooklyn DBT Consultation Team (Annette Hernandez, PhD., Clinical Psychologist, Julissa Perez, LCSW, Sara Soloman LMFT, Jeremy Schwartz, LCSW) and worked with the team from 2012 to 2015.  Between 2015 and 2018, I joined a DBT Consultation Team in W.Hartford CT (Louis Forouhar-Graff, MD, Amy Hunter, EdD, LPC, Jessica Weinstein, MA, LPC).  In 2019, I co-started a new DBT Consultation Team in Avon CT with Christine DeMaio, Ph.D.,Clinical Psychologist, Carlene Davidson, Psy.D., Clinical Psychologist, and Jessica Weinstein, M.A. Licensed Professional Counselor.  In 2021 our team experienced some changes: In August, we welcomed a new member Dr. Kristina Wong, and we also said our sad good-bye to our beloved teammate Dr. DeMaio who will start a new team at UConn.  All Consultation Team members are intensive/extensively trained by Dr. Linehan's Behavioral Tech LLC.  We follow standard DBT consultation team guidelines and meet weekly for 90 min. 

 

4. Have you been supervised by an expert DBT therapist?  

Yes. I have received individual DBT and DBT-PE (Prolonged Exposure) consultation with Chris Conley, MSW,RSW, Board Certified DBT and Certified PE supervisor (2017-2019). I also received  DBT group supervision from DBT adolescent expert Alec Miller, PsyD (2013-2014).

 

5. Are you familiar with the main sets of DBT strategies (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectics, Validation)? Yes.  I am familiar with CBT and DBT principles.  I have also received advanced CBT training as well as intensive clinical consultation from experts at Beck Institute.  In addition, I am certified in CBT in 2015 by Academy of Cognitive Therapy founded by Dr. Arron Beck and other leading experts in CBT.  

 

6. Do you continue receiving DBT training as well as Behavioral/Exposure training for facilitating behavioral changes across all treatment stages after receiving DBT intensive

Yes. I have continued receiving DBT training after DBT Intensive with DBT leading experts including

Dr. Shari Manning in 2020 (online training for creating High Fidelity, Effective DBT Consultation Team);

Dr. Linehan in 2020 (New 8-week DBT Skills Online Training); and Dr. Melanie Harned in 2017 (4-day intensive training in DBT-PE (Prolonged Exposure) for treating PTSD).  For Behavioral/Exposure Therapy Training, I have received 4-day Intensive Exposure/Response Prevention Training from Drs. Edna Foa, Liz Turk-Karan, Elna Yadin in 2017; A  year long intensive Exposure consultation from Dr. Liz Turk-Karan in 2018; ARFID workshop online training with Dr. Jessica Bodie on July 16 2021; and Inhibitory Learning in Exposure online training Dr. Lily Brown on July15 2021.  

7. Do you teach skills, practice behavior chain analysis, review diary cards? 

Yes.  They are important pieces of the treatment. 

 

8. Do you do phone coaching between sessions phone? 

Yes.  This is the part that some therapists shy away from.  However, phone skills coaching is an important part of the clients’ skill building. First, when my clients are able to successfully apply the skills to real life situations, they gain confidence in their ability to change.  Moreover,  they are more likely to continue practicing effective coping skills that are found useful.  Finally, phone coaching provides an opportunity for me to actively assess my clients’ abilities in the areas of skill acquisition, skill strengthening, and skill generalization.  With this information, I can accurately pinpoint areas of difficulty and tailor the treatment approach to meet individual needs and maximize desirable treatment outcomes.