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

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

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

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

  6. Do you do phone coaching between sessions?

 

The answer to all six questions should 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.  In addition, I have completed a 4-day intensive training in DBT-PE (Prolonged Exposure) for treating PTSD with leading expert in DBT-PE, Dr. Melanie Harned in 2017. 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). 

 

2. 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.  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. 

 

3. 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).

 

4. 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 am a board certified DBT therapist (2020 Linehan Certification Board) and also a certified Cognitive Behavioral Therapist (2015 Academy of Cognitive Therapy).  

 

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

Yes.  They are important pieces of the treatment. 

 

6. 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.