Why get certified?

Certification will have important advantages for individual therapists, for DBT programs, and for the collective effort that we all have contributed to the overall field of DBT treatment development and delivery. At the level of the individual clinician, certification will be an acknowledgment. It will acknowledge the hard work and dedication you have invested in learning and applying well, a very complicated and much-needed type of treatment. It will provide confidence to consumers. Your certification will be an indication, for those who are researching their treatment options, that they will find in you a professional who meets high national standards. If you, or your organization, are in the position of having to market your services, certification will set you apart as the provider of choice for DBT.

Certification is also a key element in the ongoing process of lobbying with private and public insurers. We all want reimbursement that is commensurate with the expertise demanded in delivering effective DBT and the value of that service to our clients and communities. Finally, most of us have had the unfortunate experience of meeting with new clients who tell us that they have already had DBT and it did not help. Certification will both encourage therapists to get the training and supervision needed to actually do the treatment well, and help consumers to steer clear of those providers who may be well-meaning but unqualified. Certification then, will help to uphold the integrity of this very important treatment, and serve as a signal that can bolster confidence in those people who are so badly in need of our services.

So if you have come this far in your development as a professional, you have been no stranger to investing time, effort, and expense. The academic and clinical training you have undergone has been a long and challenging process. It has been a process that has given you the tools you need to competently help people with very complex problems. We hope that you will be willing to take this next step and apply for certification. We have endeavored to provide you with as many supports as possible to assist you in this process. Can we count on you to do this for yourself, your clients, and for our field?

How to get certified!

Getting certified requires a number of steps.  The first step would be to review the information under "Individual Clinician Certification Information" to see if you have the qualifications to apply.  Once you know you meet those qualifications, you can begin the application process under the Certification tab.  Your completed application will be reviewed and once accepted you will be invited to sit for the exam.  

Once you have taken the exam - which is primarily based on Dr. Linehan's training manual, Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder, and her skills training manual - and passed it, you will be invited to participate in the Work Product portion of the certification process. The exam assesses your knowledge of the treatment; the Work Product portion assesses your ability to deliver that knowledge to an actual client. The Work Product portion requires you to submit 3 consecutive videotapes of actual treatment sessions of a client along with a write-up of the case for the tapes to include:
    1. The client must be in Stage I of treatment;
    2. Listing the client’s Life Worth Living goals;
    3. Listing the targets of treatment initially and currently that help the client meet those LWL goals;
    4. Identifying the highest priority target of each of the taped sessions submitted.
While this will not be scored, we want to emphasize the importance of being able to think conceptually about your treatment with a DBT client. The videos will be adherence coded by trained coders in DBT. There is a sample consent form for clients on the website under Helpful Resources. Once you have successfully passed the exam and Work Product you will be certified as a DBT-Linehan Board of Certification, Certified Clinician.

Be sure to apply at least 2 months before the exam date you are interested in so that everything can be reviewed and your invitation to sit for the exam can be sent.