What is Certification?

“Professional certification is a voluntary process by which you are evaluated against predetermined standards for knowledge, skills, or competencies. Participants who demonstrate that they meet the standards by successfully completing the assessment process are granted a time-limited credential. To retain the credential, certificants must maintain continued competence. The credential awarded by the certification program provider denotes that the participant possesses particular knowledge, skills, or competencies.”   http://www.credentialingexcellence.org/p/cm/ld/fid=65

Certification differs from a certificate in that a certificate is attesting to accomplishing the completion of some educational or training effort with no assessment of what was retained or available to put into practice.  Certification is a much more involved assessment to demonstrate the application of knowledge to the performance and delivery of the treatment.  It requires more than an attestation statement.  It is a valuable reassurance to you and to the public that other knowledgeable experts in the field who see you perform the relevant tasks successfully have assessed you.

Accreditation is the process by which a credentialing or educational program is evaluated against defined standards, and when in compliance with these standards, is awarded recognition by a third party.  

What is the value of the DBT - Linehan Board of Certification?


A professional certification Board provides an independent assessment of the knowledge, skills, and/or competencies required for competent performance of a professional role or specific work-related tasks that insures to the consumer, insurance companies and government agencies that the certified provider is competent to deliver the treatment.  Certification also is intended to measure or enhance continued competence through on-going maintenance of certification requirements.

Since 1991 when the first randomized, controlled trial supporting the efficacy of Dialectical Behavior Therapy was published, the behavioral health community and its stakeholders have had an ever-increasing interest in the development of standards that insure that individuals and programs delivering DBT are doing so with fidelity to the model.

As more studies were done and dissemination of the treatment began in earnest, the need for these types of standards has become increasingly important to a number of concerned parties including:

  • Individuals in need of treatment.
  • Family members and loved ones of those in need of treatment.
  • Third-party payers.
  • Practitioners, researchers and treatment developers.
  • Professional societies and organizations

The concerns of these stakeholders include:

  • Individuals have the right to be informed regarding the credentials of a provider
  • Individuals receiving care, their family members and loved ones have the right to some measure of assurance the provider is capable of giving the “best care” possible.
  • Third party payers have an obligation to manage health care resources by providing access to quality care while managing health care funding in the most effective and efficient manner possible.
  • Clinicians have the right to be recognized for providing high quality services, thus distinguishing the provider from others less qualified.

The DBT- Linehan Board of Certification™ was created to meet that need.  DBT-LBC™ was formed to develop a comprehensive way to certify individual therapists in their competency to deliver DBT effectively and to certify programs that demonstrate their ability to deliver DBT programmatically with fidelity to the model as it has been researched.


How are the standards for Certification set? 

It is the Linehan treatment manuals (Cognitive Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder (1993) and Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder 1993), consultation with the treatment developer, Dr. Linehan, as well as research-based work on adherence coding, etc. that has informed all criteria for the DBT-LBC Certification program. 

What does it take for you to get certified?

Certification is both a professionally challenging and rewarding process that will demand time, effort, and financial investment.  It will take time and effort to collect the information necessary for application.  It will require taking a test measuring proficiency in behavioral treatments and in DBT.  It will afford you the opportunity to demonstrate your actual ability to deliver the treatment through adherence coding of videotaped recordings of therapy sessions. The application fee, exam fee and coding fee to cover the cost of processing these elements will not be trivial for most therapists who apply.  Additionally, for most of us, the process will prompt anxiety. Will I pass the test? Will my recordings pass the adherence coding procedures? Given these factors then, why should I go through this process?  Only you can determine that answer.  We are here to support you in doing so and encourage your participation.  We believe the effort is worthwhile for you as well as the public we serve.

Now that you are certified

Once you achieve certification, you are then permitted to use the designation, "DBT-Linehan Board of Certification, Certified DBT Clinician™". You will be sent an email that also includes an emblem for use in any correspondence, should you wish to do so.  Please note that the emblem must be placed next to your name and credentials.  It may not be used to indicate any endorsement by DBT-LBC for any other purposes than to indicate that you are certified as a DBT clinician.  The designation and emblem will be provided on a mailed certificate suitable for framing also.  There is also an annual Maintenance of Certification process required spelled out elsewhere on the website.


***The DBT-Linehan Board of Certification™ (DBT-LBC™) is an independent, 501c3 non-profit organization. DBT-LBC™ is a certification organization with experts that assess applicants for certification. We do not provide the training that is required for our certification and we are separate from all organizations that provide DBT training. This separation is vital to a quality certification program.***