Eligibility Requirements 

In order to help you pull everything together before you sit down to complete your application for Certification, here is a list of the requirements and documentation you will need at your fingertips.  

Your personal information

This is pretty straightforward and likely easily completed for the most part.  You might need to remind yourself of start dates for your employment and addresses of the place(s) where you’ve worked.

There is an area for Professional Licenses, both past and present.  You will need both active and inactive license information, including any license numbers and the contact information for the issuing agency – address, phone, etc.  Accurate information on the addresses, etc. will help avoid delays when sources are contacted for verification of the information submitted by you.


Your graduate degree must be in a mental health-related field and come from an educational program at a regionally accredited institution of higher education.  The information you wll need to pull together are pretty standard items including dates of attendance, degrees and such.  For graduate institutions you will also need the Registrar’s address for each school you attended.


You must be a licensed, independent mental health practitioner with an unrestricted license.  Conditional licenses/certificates that require supervision to work as a mental health professional are not acceptable.  You will need the name of the agency that granted your license to practice in the mental health field and the physical address and phone number.

DBT-Related Educational/Training experiences 

There are many ways to have learned about DBT.   There is a requirement that you have obtained a minimum of 40 didactic training hours specific to DBT. The 40 hours can be obtained in various ways. The hours can be obtained through Continuing Education hours, Workshops, Seminars, Didactic training hours, etc. In an effort to help those who follow in your footsteps succeed in successful completion of the certification process we’d like to see what kinds of training those who pass the exam have engaged in.  So, we are interested in how you’ve obtained your knowledge about DBT.  You will be asked to identify the experience in which you obtained your hours, along with the dates, trainer/presenter. Any experience should follow Linehan's treatment manual and be DBT focused.

Clinical Experience in DBT 

Review your caseload of DBT clients and pick three for whom you have completed Stage I treatment, within the past 3 years, as their individual therapist while they were concurrently enrolled in a DBT Skills group. ***Clients must have completed treatment within the past 3 years of when the application is approved. These would be three clients for whom you have done the following:  Oriented them to the treatment (structure, theory, goals/targets and commitments), provided regularly scheduled individual DBT therapy, made available phone coaching, had diary card and treatment targets that met the DBT Stage I hierarchy.  In addition, during your work with those three clients both you and the skills trainer were part of a DBT Consultation team that met regularly.

You will need the name of the clinic where the client received your services, the dates of those services and the goals/targets at the beginning of treatment and the outcome relative to those targets by the end of Stage I treatment.

Here’s a reminder that you will see repeated – please do not include ANY identifying information on your application about any of your clients, including initials, etc.

DBT Team experiences

There are two requirements here:  (1) a total of 12 months of participation in one or more DBT consultation teams; and (2) current participation on a DBT Team.  You will need the clinic name, # of members, dates of participation, frequency of meetings, Team Leader’s name, phone number and email address for all consultation teams that fulfill these participation requirements.

DBT Skills knowledge/experience

You will be required to attest to having done the following three things: (1) read the Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder by Marsha Linehan (May 21, 1993), (2) done all the homework assignments in the manual and (3) taught or participated as a student in all modules of skills training OR taught all DBT skills within individual therapy and coached clients in the application of the skills.  Test questions will also be based on the skills as presented in this book.


Based on the treatment manual - Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder by Marsha Linehan (May 14, 1993)

Letter of Recommendation 

A letter of recommendation as to your character and competency as a DBT practitioner will be required from your Team Leader.  If you are a Team Leader, you will need a letter from a licensed mental health practitioner who can attest to your character and competency as a DBT practitioner also.

Work Product Demonstration

You will be asked to submit 3 consecutive video recordings of a Stage I client-Pre-treatment-sessions 1-4, would also be considered stage 1, (and associated work sample materials i.e., diary cards, session information forms), which will then be reviewed and coded to evidence-based adherence standards for DBT. The sessions must be within 2 years of submission. One of these sessions must meet adherence standards to pass. If you do not pass, a second submission of consecutive sessions will be required and must be provided within 3 months. (There is no additional fee for the second submission provided you do so before the deadline.) If the second submission is unsuccessful an additional 6-month wait will be necessary. We recommend supervision by a trained DBT clinician in this case to assist you. Please note, at this time, we are accepting English only videos.

There are links to suggestions on the website for possible equipment and software that makes video recording inexpensive to do. We’ve also provided a sample consent form for your use. See Helpful Resources for both suggestions.

Mindfulness Experience

Formal training in mindfulness is required and can be demonstrated by at least one of the following four experiences and you will need dates and descriptions for each.  A mindfulness retreat, formal practice community participation, formally a student of a recognized Zen/contemplative teacher, and/or at least one formal training in mindfulness.

In addition you will need to describe your regular, ongoing mindfulness practice currently.