Conducting Effective and Adherent Individual DBT Sessions

Wednesday, October 25 – Friday, October 27, 2023 
11am – 6:30pm CDT (3pm-6pm MDT / 9am – 4:30pm PDT)
18 hours ǀ Held live through Zoom (recordings not available) 


Dr. Marsha Linehan initially developed Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT; Linehan, 1993; 2015) to help chronically suicidal clients. Over the past 30 years, DBT has evolved to become a well-established treatment for complex mental health concerns characterized by emotion dysregulation (e.g., borderline personality disorder). Over 30 randomized trials have demonstrated the effectiveness of DBT, with studies consistently showing greater reductions in suicidal behaviour, use of hospital services, and other mental health related challenges when compared with control conditions. 


This 3-day workshop will focus on providing effective and adherent individual therapy in DBT by reviewing important strategies in providing adherent individual sessions from the beginning to the end of treatment. By the end of the workshop, participants will have a better understanding of how to organize and conduct effective individual DBT sessions.

This workshop is designed for therapists who have had some exposure to DBT and DBT skills. Even clinicians who have read the core DBT manuals and attended initial trainings often wonder about the nuts and bolts of conducting effective individual therapy sessions. Therapists who wish to improve the structure, focus, and effectiveness of their individual sessions and move toward adherent DBT will find this workshop helpful.

Those who have already attended a workshop (such as the DBT Centre of Vancouver’s 3-day DBT skills workshop), or gained practice in teaching DBT skills, will benefit from a deeper dive into the process of DBT individual therapy and will see how the skills they have learned can complement their individual work. 


  • Review: DBT Theory and practice
  • Pretreatment strategies in DBT: 
    Assessment, orientation, and commitment
  • Structuring individual DBT sessions
  • Using diary cards & targeting behaviour 
    in DBT
  • Problem solving and solution analysis
  • Core behavioural and cognitive change strategies
  • Contingency management & observing limits
  • Phone coaching in DBT
  • Other considerations in assessing and managing suicide risk and therapy interfering behaviours
  • Validation and stylistic strategies 
    (reciprocal and irreverent strategies)
  • Conducting effective chain analyses
  • Dialectical strategies


Early bird registration ends September 29. 
Student and group discounts are available.

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Questions? Email