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Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Training: Fundamentals

Level 2
Live, Remote, Instructor-led
October 31 – November 3, 2022

Trainers: Gwen Abney-Cunningham, LMSW and Ronda Reitz, PhD

Training Description

Research indicates that DBT skills are a key mechanism of change for suicide attempts, non-suicidal self-injury, depression, and anger, and multiple randomized control trials have shown DBT skills to be effective for a variety of problems, including depression, emotion dysregulation, binge eating, and borderline personality disorder.

This training provides in-depth training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Skills: Core Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotion Regulation, and Interpersonal Effectiveness, as well as the training methods required to help patients move from skills acquisition to generalization of skills into their natural environments. The intended purpose of the various skills and the rationale (including the evidence) for their place in the treatment are addressed. Clinical examples are used to illustrate specific skills training procedures. Participants will learn key teaching points for the various skills. Video of roundtable discussions of DBT experts, and demonstrations of a skills training class are incorporated.

The training consist of 16 segments for a total of 24 instructional hours over 4 days. Consolidation of knowledge from training requires preparation and tasks beyond the time spent with trainers. In order to maximize the return on the investment made in training, readings, homework tasks, and a knowledge test are built in. We estimate that participants should plan on additional 24 hours of time to complete these. Pertinent readings and homework tasks are included in a description of the training segment included later in this document.

Participants should have Dr. Marsha Linehan’s DBT® Skills Training Manual, Second Edition available during the training.

DBT skills training is one of 4 modes of standard outpatient DBT. For those who want to implement a full DBT program we recommend completion of the comprehensive Dialectical Behavior Therapy Intensive Training.

Primary Objective
As a result of this training participants will be able to conduct DBT skills training.

Learning Objectives

As a result of this training, participants will be able to:

  1. Orient patients to how specific skills will help with specific relevant situations.
  2. Conduct missing links analyses of incomplete homework assignments.
  3. Conduct brief chain analyses in the context of skills training classes.
  4. Demonstrate strategies for increasing client motivation.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to manage questions, conversations and comments in skills training.
  6. Demonstrate the ability to manage interactions among skills training participants.
  7. Demonstrate how to solve problems that arise during skills training class.
  8. Employ engaging teaching methods.
  9. Conceptualize the rationale for the use of specific DBT skills.
  10. Orient patients to the steps required to effectively use DBT skills.
  11. Employ questions and activities that can be used to assess skills deficits.
  12. Describe situations for skills practice.
  13. Demonstrate providing corrective feedback.
  14. Employ strategies for motivating patients to engage in skills rehearsal.
  15. Identify strategies for engaging in behavioral rehearsal.
  16. Demonstrate informal exposure procedures.
  17. Employ strategies for shaping skillful behavior.
  18. Identify DBT skills for clients to use for specific problems in specific contexts.
  19. Motivate clients to use DBT skills by linking skills use to the goals of clients.
  20. Identify therapy interfering and therapy destroying behaviors in skills training classes.
  21. Identify points of polarization in interactions with patients in skills training.
  22. Manage therapy interfering and therapy destroying behaviors in skills training classes.
  23. Describe the evidence for the use of DBT Mindfulness skills.
  24. Convey the rationale for DBT Mindfulness skills.
  25. Identify situations in which Mindfulness skills can be helpful.
  26. Teach Core Mindfulness skills to clients.
  27. Describe the DBT skill of Wise Mind.
  28. Define and describe the three “What” skills (Observe, Describe, and Participate).
  29. Define and describe the three “How” skills (Nonjudgmentally, One-Mindfully, and Effectively).
  30. Describe the evidence for the use of DBT Interpersonal Effectiveness skills.
  31. Convey the rationale for Interpersonal Effectiveness skills.
  32. Teach Interpersonal Effectiveness skills to clients.
  33. Identify situations where Interpersonal Effectiveness skills can be helpful.
  34. Identify skills for making requests or saying no to a request.
  35. Identify skills for maintaining relationships.
  36. Identify skills for maintaining self-respect.
  37. Describe the evidence for the use of DBT Emotions Regulation skills.
  38. Convey the rationale for DBT Emotion Regulation skills.
  39. Teach Emotion Regulation skills to clients.
  40. Identify situations where Emotion Regulation skills can be helpful.
  41. Identify skills for changing emotional responses.
  42. Describe specific DBT skills that are particularly helpful for anger.
  43. Identify skills for reducing emotional vulnerability.
  44. Describe the evidence for the use of DBT Distress Tolerance skills.
  45. Convey the rationale for DBT Distress Tolerance skills.
  46. Identify situations where Distress Tolerance can be helpful.
  47. Convey the rationale for the use of reality acceptance skills.
  48. Identify skills for reality acceptance.


October 31 – November 3, 2022
9:30am – 5:00pm Central Time / 7:30am – 3:00pm Pacific Time / 10:30am – 6:00pm Eastern Time
Sign-in from 9:00am – 9:30am Central Time / 7:00am – 7:30am Pacific Time / 10:00am – 10:30am Eastern Time


Gwen Abney-Cunningham, LMSW

Gwen Abney-Cunningham, LMSW Gwen Abney-Cunningham, LMSW Kalamazoo, MI (United States) Gwen Abney-Cunningham, LMSW, is currently a fulltime Behavioral Tech consultant and trainer. Prior to coming to Behavioral Tech full time, she was employed at a community mental health agency for 32 years, in many roles, including; DBT Services Supervisor, Outpatient Services Director, and most recently as Evidenced Based Treatment Director. Gwen received her bachelor’s degree from Hope College and her MSW from Grand Valley State University. She has 30 plus years of professional experience and is a member of one of the first teams in the U.S. to apply DBT within an ACT program.  Gwen is intensively trained in DBT and an experienced workshop leader at state, national, and international conferences. Gwen continues to work as a DBT therapist because it is effective and the hope it brings to clients and their families. As a BTECH Trainer and consultant, she is also able to assist many mental health providers in learning the treatment to assist in helping many individuals. Gwen’s experience in DBT includes individual and skills training for adults, adolescents and families and providing DBT supervision to clinicians. In addition, she has assisted in the development and implementation of DBT on ACT teams and in outpatient settings. Gwen has been involved with the large-scale implementations of DBT in Michigan for Community Mental Health settings. She has been a Behavioral Tech trainer for 20 plus years. Gwen has also served on the Behavioral Tech Trainer Advisory Committee and the Behavioral Tech Implementation Science Workgroup.

Ronda Oswalt Reitz, PhD

Ronda Oswalt Reitz, PhD Ronda Oswalt Reitz, PhDColumbia, MO (United States) Ronda Oswalt Reitz, Ph.D., is the Coordinator for Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) services for the Missouri Department of Mental Health. In this role, she is charged with the implementation, support, and evaluation of DBT programming in public mental health settings statewide.  Dr. Reitz specializes in large-scale implementation of DBT and has developed comprehensive DBT programming in community mental health systems, inpatient hospitals, and in juvenile and adult forensic settings.  Dr. Reitz is also a national trainer-consultant for Behavioral Tech, the treatment dissemination company founded by Dr. Marsha Linehan, the developer of DBT.  Dr. Reitz is a graduate of the University of Kansas.


The training is intended for those who have prior knowledge of DBT, and who want to learn DBT skills in depth to improve their work with their clients. Specifically, participants should either complete Dialectical Behavior Therapy Foundational Training, Dialectical Behavior Therapy Intensive Training, or Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills: Introduction before participating in this training. Alternately, participants can prepare by in-depth reading of Dr. Marsha Linehan’s DBT Skills Training Manual, Second Edition, on which this training relies.

Preparation & Training Requirements

Participants should complete pertinent readings before the workshop and plan to solidify their knowledge by completing homework tasks after the workshop. Daily quizzes are included. In order to receive CE/CME participants must pass a final exam with a score of at least 70%. The final exam is based on the quiz items.

Study Resources

Readings for DBT Skills Training
The readings pertinent to workshops on DBT Skills Training can be found in the primary text listed below. Each DBT provider should have access to a copy.

A note for those who work with adolescents and their families:

  • Our training models extensively reference sections of Dr. Marsha Linehan’s DBT Skills Training Manual, 2nd Edition(2015). This book comprises most of the reading assignments in our trainings. The reason for this is that it is a comprehensive treatment of DBT skills, including key treatment concepts, core strategies and procedures, and variations on the structure of skills training based on studies with different lengths of treatment. Moreover, the RCTs with adolescents that were conducted by Lars Mehlum et al in Norway, and Linehan et al at the University of Washington and UCLA were based on the material in this manual.
  • Many who have worked with adolescents prefer handouts that are presented differently than those in the second edition of Dr. Linehan’s manual. Those persons may wish to use the handouts from DBT Skills Manual for Adolescents (2015) by Drs. Jill Rathus and Alec Miller as an adjunct to the Linehan skills manual with their adolescent patients. They may also find the background material contained in the Rathus and Miller volume a helpful adjunct in learning to deliver the skills to adolescents and their families.

1. Primary text for DBT skills training
Linehan, M. M. (2015). DBT Skills Training Manual(2nd ed.). The Guilford Press.

2. Supplemental reading for DBT skills training with adolescents and their families
Rathus, J. H., & Miller, A.L. (2015). DBT Skills Manual for Adolescents. The Guilford Press.



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Tuition Information

  • Standard Tuition: $825 per participant (U.S. dollars)
  • Registration will close when all seats are sold, or on October 27, 2022 (final cut-off date).

IMPORTANT: Two weeks prior to the training, participants will receive an email from our Online Portal (powered by Thinkific) with a sign-in URL for this training. Please follow the instructions in the email to log in to our Online Portal and set your password, prior to Day 1 of the training.

Participants will retain access to the online course until 1 month after the last training session date. All course requirements must be completed before course access expires.

Please email if you have any questions about accessing your training.

Cancellations, Substitutions and Refunds
For a complete list of Behavioral Tech policies and limits of liability, see our Sales & Refund Policy page.

Technical Requirements

  • Our Online Portal (powered by Thinkific) will be used to host the live Zoom sessions and share supplemental materials. All Live-Remote Trainings require each participant to have:

Continuing Education

This offering meets the requirements for the following hours by discipline. Licensing and continuing education requirements vary by state. Please contact your state’s regulatory authority to verify if this course meets your licensing or continuing education requirements. Inquiries regarding CE for other disciplines not listed may be directed to Behavioral Tech at (206) 675-8589 or via email to And for general CE questions, you can review answers to continuing education FAQs or contact us.

CE NOTE: Behavioral Tech calculates the continuing education credits for this training by the start time and end time. 100 percent attendance is required, as is signing IN and OUT each morning and afternoon, to receive CE credits. Only participants with 100% attendance, and who have completed the Post-Event Evaluation and passed their Final Exam with a score of 70% or higher will receive credit. Behavioral Tech cannot offer partial credit. Please remember to sign in and sign out each day to document your attendance. Continuing Education documentation will be emailed to you 4-6 weeks after the last day of training.

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors
Behavioral Tech is approved by NAADAC – the Association for Addiction Professionals, Provider #77431. You will receive a letter via email documenting your attendance upon successful completion of the activity. The allotted contact hours for this activity = 24.

Mental Health Counselors
Behavioral Tech is approved by an NBCC-Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEP™) and may offer NBCC-approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements. The ACEP solely is responsible for all aspects of the program.
Behavioral Tech will email you a letter documenting your attendance upon the successful completion of the activity. The allocated clock hours for this activity = 24.

Behavioral Tech is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. Nurses should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Continuing Medical Education is accepted by the ANCC for nursing certification renewal. The maximum AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ designated by Behavioral Tech for this activity = 24

Behavioral Tech is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. The maximum AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ designated by Behavioral Tech for this activity = 24.

Behavioral Tech is approved by the American Psychological Association to offer continuing education for psychologists. Behavioral Tech maintains responsibility for the program and its content. Behavioral Tech will email you a letter documenting your attendance after the successful completion of the program and homework. The number of hours Behavioral Tech has allocated within APA guidelines = 24.

Psychologists – New York
Behavioral Tech is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Psychology as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed psychologists, #PSY-0063. Behavioral Tech will email a certificate of attendance upon 100% completion of this activity. The total contact hour allocated for this activity = 24.

Social Workers- Washington
Behavioral Tech will apply to the NASW, Washington State Chapter, Provider Number 1975-166, to offer continuing education for Certified Social Workers. Behavioral Tech will email a certificate of attendance upon 100% completion of this activity. The hours of CE allocated for this activity = 24.

Social Workers – New York
Behavioral Tech is approved by recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers, #0040. Behavioral Tech will email a letter documenting attendance to participants with 100% completion of the program and homework. The hours allocated for this activity = 24.

General CE/CME Disclosures and Policies

Conflict of interest definition: A conflict of interest may be considered to exist if a continuing education course faculty is affiliated with, or has any significant financial interest, in any organization(s) that may have a direct interest in the subject matter of the presentation or may be co-sponsoring or offering financial support to the course. Situations involving a potential conflict of interest are not inherently bad or wrong, but in accordance with standards for continuing medical education we would like you to be aware of the affiliation/financial interest of your instructors.

Faculty Disclaimer: When an unlabelled use of a commercial product, or an investigative use not yet approved for any purpose is discussed during an educational activity, we shall require the speaker to disclose that the product is not labeled for the use under discussion or that the product is still investigative.

Notice of requirements for successful completion: For all trainings (both in-person and remote), participants must attend 100% of the training and complete the Final Evaluation to receive a certificate of successful completion. This includes signing in and out each day/session of the event. For remote, Instructor-led online training, participants have to pass the Post Assessment(s) with a score of 70% or higher.

Commercial support or sponsorship: There is no commercial company support for this CME/CE event.

Noncommercial Sponsor Support: There is no noncommercial sponsor support for this CME/CE activity.

Non-Endorsement of Products: The Behavioral Tech approval status refers only to continuing education activities and does not imply that there is real or implied endorsement of any product, service, or company referred to in this activity nor of any company subsidizing costs related to the activity.

Off-Label Product Use: This CME/CE activity does not include any unannounced information about off-label use of a product for a purpose other than that for which it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Disclosure of Relevant Financial Relationships: Faculty members are required to disclose all conflicts of interest and any relevant financial relationships that may affect the training content. Unless specified on Behavioral Tech’s website or on other printed materials/media, none of the individuals in a position to control the content of this CE/CME activity (including planners, editors, CE/CME Review Committee members, faculty presenters, moderators/facilitators, reviewers, etc.) have any relevant financial relationships to disclose.

CE Reprint Policy: For missing/lost CE documentation, an administrative fee of $50 is required for all CE/CME activities after 2017. For CE reprints prior to 2017, please refer to the website or contact Please refer to the CE FAQ webpage:

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